Donnie Nietes: The underrated world champion

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He does not make waves, he rarely excites the crowd and he never ever showboats. However, he always makes it a point to get the job done.

Despite fighting under the radar amid the huge shadows of fellow Filipino world champions Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire, Brian Viloria and Gerry Penalosa, WBO world champion Donnie Nietes found a fortress of his own in the quiet yet action-packed minimumweight division.

Nietes, one of ALA gym’s diamond in the rough, often called “Ahas” (snake) turned pro in 2003 and and went on undefeated in his first 12 fights before losing a close decision against Indonesian Angky Angkota. The loss however, did not hurt him in anyway.

If anything, Nietes came back stronger, better and fiercer than ever. He compiled a record of 21-1-3 before suiting up in the biggest fight of his young career. Thus in September 2007, Nietes snatch the vacant WBO minimumweight championship at the expense of Pornsawan Porpramook in front of thousands of delighted Cebuanos.

Since then, he had successfully defended his title on two occasions against Nicaraguan bomber Eddy Castro and tough Mexican slugger Erik Ramirez. Early this year, there were reports of a possible clash against Ivan Calderon — a bout that will probably determine the best boxer in the lower weight divisions.

However, the bout did not push through. As we all know Calderon opted to defend his title against Rodel Mayol, in a fight that would end via controversial split draw. Nietes, on the other hand found a willing challenger in crafty Mexican Manuel Vargas.

Early indications suggest that the bout is to be staged in Cebu but it was later announced to be held in Mexico — that is going to give Vargas a huge advantage, concerning the lively and boisterous Mexicano crowd cheering on their hometown hero.

Despite of it, Nietes still appears to be optimistic and diminishes the idea of a hometown decision, giving a cue that the result of the fight won’t rely on the judges scorecards rather, he promises to finish the matter with his own fists. In an interview with GMA-7’s 24 ORAS, a

prime time news program. Nietes was quoted saying that he isn’t afraid of Vargas and he is ready come August 1. In fact he said that he is much more concerned with the dreaded swine flu other than his opponent Vargas. Well, there’s only one way to find out.

Under the tutelage of celebrated trainer Freddie Roach, Nietes will once again prove his worth and showcase his talents. Hopefully, to weave a better and much appreciated status in today’s commercialized boxing world.


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