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By Maloney L. Samaco

Wed, 04 Feb 2009

World Boxing Organization (WBO) mini-flyweight champion Donnie ?Ahas? Nietes will make his second title defense against Mexican Erik Ramirez in Oaxaca, Mexico. This is a tough assignment for Nietes since he will be fighting in a hostile territory.

Nietes now sports a pro record of 23-1-3 (14 KOs) while Ramirez has 25-5-1 (19 KOs). He won surprisingly over previously undefeated Pornsawarn Kratingdaenggym of Thailand for the vacant WBO title on September 30, 2007 in Waterfront-Cebu. Nietes knocked Kratingdaenggym down in the fourth round, but the Thai boxer managed to get up. The bout was decided unanimously in favor of Nietes.

For three times, Nietes was matched against a fighter supposedly to defend his title, but all three plans were cancelled for unrevealed reasons. Because of these cancellations, his WBO crown was in jeopardy because per WBO rules, a champion has to defend his title within a year.

All three scheduled fights against Sammy Guttierez of Mexico City, Daniel ?El Olympico? Reyes of Columbia and Erik Ramirez on July 5 were called off. This time the fight with Ramirez will be on February 28, 2009.

Nietes debuted as a professional boxer on April 25, 2003, and in only four years, he became the Philippines? 33rd world champion. Nietes never had a chance to shine even if he is already a world champion. His fight with Eddy Castro even if it was a world championship was just a supporting event of the blockbuster card ?WBO Night of Champions.? Nietes stopped his Nicaraguan opponent in just two rounds, leaving his foe motionless on the canvas.

The main event was not even a world title fight, just a WBO inter-continental super bantamweight title bout between Rey ?Boom-Boom? Bautista and Mexican Eden Marquez. Bautista also won by KO over Marquez.

Since winning the WBO crown, ?The Snake? has not been given the status of superstardom in his career as evidenced by the many cancellations of his fight, apparently due to purse problems. It appears that Bautista gets more attention in the ALA Gym as evidenced by his top billing.

But a superb win over Ramirez, a more veteran fighter with the home crowd backing, could propel Nietes to celebrity status. Antonio Aldeguer is leaving no stone unturned in his quest for glory. Nietes will be trained by no less than the world class trainer and Manny Pacquiao mentor Freddie Roach at the famed Wild Card Gym.

This could be the start for good things to come for Donnie after several frustrating fight cancellations. But he has to hurdle the Mexican obstacle first. Ramirez is rated No.2 in the mini-flyweight category by WBO and is ranked No. 6 by the World Boxing Council and No. 11 by the World Boxing Association. Ramirez has a 61.29% KO compared to Nietes? 51.85%.

Top photo: Mayor Maloney Samaco poses with Donnie Nietes at the ALA Gym (Photo by Engr. Mabel Samaco).

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