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Finally, Respect for Nietes


PhilBoxing.com




Why did Filipino world champion Donnie Nietes go into the hometown of his opponent in Mexico to defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimumweight championship of the world? To some, it wouldn?t make sense. To others, it was like committing suicide. But to Donnie, it was all about respect.

Respect he should earn now, after defending his championship through a convincing unanimous decision win over challenger Erik Ramirez in a fight that saw the Mexican hitting the deck four times. And Nietes did all this in Ramirez?s hometown of Oaxaca , Mexico. The irony of it all is that it was Nietes who wanted the fight badly just to gain respect from the boxing community.

In a presscon held for Nietes the other night, ALA Promotions President Michael Aldeguer said that after winning the WBO world championship and defending it once here in Cebu, it was imperative that Nietes fight and win a big one abroad to gain the recognition that has somehow eluded him since he won the belt in 2007.

?Respect is what he?s looking for. A third fight here wouldn?t have helped. He needed this for his career. But more importantly, he really wanted this one. Donnie?s dream was to fight a Mexican in Mexico,? Aldeguer said.

Knowing that the odds were stacked against him even if he was the defending champion, Nietes relied on his excellent conditioning, rigid mental preparation, his overhand right and the bonus of a small ring to get the job done. Fighting in Mexico for the first time was not a major issue for Nietes who was unusually calm and mentally focused for the fight. Nietes scored his first knockdown through an overhand right hand in the very first round even if the plan then was to study the opponent early in the fight. The same right hand sent the challenger down three more times in the fifth, ninth and twelfth round to throw away any doubts on the fight?s outcome.

Trainer Edmund Villamor acknowledged that it was Nietes? consistent use of the double jab that set up the right hand. Nietes was the aggressor for most of the fight while Ramirez seemed to have adopted a fight plan of just simply piling up points from a boxer?s stance. The smaller ring helped the cause of Nietes as Ramirez as a target didn?t have much room for running. In the end, Nietes won on the scorecards of all three judges. Cesar Ramos and Victor Salomon scored the bout 115-109 and 116-108, respectively for Nietes, while Jon Stewart scored it a close 113-111 also for Nietes, a score which raised some eyebrows. If Nietes hadn?t scored at least three knockdowns, he would?ve lost in Stewart?s scorecard.

Another Mexican is next in line for Nietes. Even before getting the chance to give Nietes a warm welcome, Team ALA was already instructed by the WBO to start negotiations with the promoters of WBO interim champion Manuel Vargas for a showdown for the regular championship of Nietes. Vargas is handled by well-known promoter Fernando Beltran, the same promoter of Erik Morales, Jose Luis Castillo and Ulysses Solis.

After defending his title twice, Team ALA hopes that Nietes finally proves that he belongs up there with his more popular stablemates like Z Gorres, Boom Boom Bautista and AJ Banal. ?In Team ALA , we always believed that Donnie always had it. ALA himself believed in Donnie,? Aldeguer quipped.

The big question now is whether or not the boxing public will give him the respect he deserves.

Top photo: Nietes celebrates after successfully defending his title in Mexico.


Nietes displays his belt during Wednesday night's presscon at the Sugbahan Restaurant in Mandaue City.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rico Navarro.


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