‘Quick knockout’

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Friday, November 29, 2013

QUEZON CITY — After reigning for almost six years, Donnie Nietes has shown he is one of the best in the world. But at this point of his career, he is hungry for more success in his quest for greatness.

For the two-division world champion Nietes to continue to build up his legacy, he has to go through his latest roadblock, former world champion Sammy Gutierrez of Mexico tonight at the Araneta Coliseum.

Nietes (31-1-4, 17 KOs) is defending his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight title against Gutierrez (33-9-2, 23 KOs) in the main event of a rare double world title– Pinoy Pride 23– “Filipinos Kontra Latinos.”


“He tends to open up and gets hit easily. He is a fighter but he is not that strong and if he gets hit by a solid punch, he goes down,” Nietes said in yesterday’s weigh-in at Robinson’s Galleria. “I will do my best to show an impressive performance and score a knockout. The faster the fight ends the better. I will knock him out and send a message to (Moises) Fuentes.”

Both Nietes and Gutierrez weighed-in at exactly 108 pounds.

“It’s going to be everything. He was named as one of the Top 100 fighter pound-for-pound (of all time). It’s a huge recognition for Nietes. This fight will be his stepping stone for bigger fights,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer.

Aside from being in the list of the Top 100 pound-for-pound boxers, Nietes is also gunning to become the longest reigning Filipino world champion, which is currently held by the late Gabriel “Flash” Elorde. Nietes is in his sixth year as a world champion, while Elorde was a world champion for seven and a half years.

A win over Gutierrez should earn Nietes a rematch with Moises Fuentes next year.

Nietes is also looking at moving up in weight to the stacked flyweight division and a possible crack at WBO and World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight king Juan Francisco Estrada.

The other half of the double world title event is a mandatory title defense of WBO mini-flyweight king Merlito Sabillo (23-0, 12 KOs) against interim WBO mini-flyweight champion Carlos Buitrago (27-0, 16 KOs).

“I will study him in the first three rounds. I’m confident of winning this fight because I’m fighting at home and I’m in tiptop condition,” said Sabillo, who tipped the scales at the mini-flyweight limit of 105 pounds. Buitrago also made the weight at 105 pounds.

It’s only been less than a year since Sabillo snagged the WBO mini-flyweight belt but he has so far been impressive in world title fights, winning both by knockout over Colombian’s Luis de la Rosa and Jorle Estrada.

“This is the biggest fight of Merlito’s life. There a questions if he is a legitimate champion. This fight will define his career. We believe he is special. This fight will answer the questions,” said Aldeguer.

Buitrago is one of the best in the division and should pose as a huge threat to Sabillo. The 21-year-old Nicaraguan captured the interim WBO belt with a unanimous decision win over Julian Yedras in Mexico.

Resurgent Milan Melindo (29-1, 12 KOs) puts at stake his WBO International flyweight belt against former world titleholder Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (29-2, 18 KOs).

WBO International light welterweight titlist Jason Pagara (31-2, 19 KOs) also defends his crown Dominican Vladimir Baez (19-1-2, 17 KOs).

Former world title contender AJ “Bazooka” Banal (29-2-1, 21 KOs) trades leathers with Puerto Rican Lucian Gonzalez (16-7-2, 3 KOs) in a 10-round non-title fight, while experienced pug Jimrex Jaca (38-6-3, 21 KOs) takes on Indonesian Wellem Reyk (17-7-3, 5 KOs) in a six-rounder.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 30, 2013.


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