DONNIE “Ahas” Nietes oozes with confidence while Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo takes it cautiously when they stake their respective World Boxing Organization crowns tonight in Pinoy Pride 23 at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Emboldened by his nearly seven-year reign as champion, Nietes predicted a knockout over Mexican Sammy Gutierrez.
Former Bacolod streetfighter Sabillo, on the other hand, said Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago is a worthy adversary for the minimumweight title and he isn’t promising a knockout in the doubleheader of the fight card being staged by ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports.
The 31-year-old Nietes, who owns a 31-win, 1-loss-4-draw slate with 17 knockouts, and Gutierrez (33-9-2, 23 knockouts) both came in at an exact 108 pounds during yesterday’s official weigh-in at Robinsons Galleria.
Sabillo, who has stopped his last five opponents en route to an immaculate 23-0 record with 12 KOs, and the 21-year-old Buitrago (27-0 with 16 knockouts) also tipped the scales at the 105-pound limit.
While Nietes and Sabillo differ in their assessment of their Latino rivals, the Ala Boxing Gym stalwarts, are one in saying that they have trained long and hard in trying to stretch the Filipinos’ romp in the international arena.
Nietes and Sabillo said they are inspired by Nonito Donaire’s ninth round stoppage of Vic Darchinyan last month and Manny Pacquiao’s recent 12-round destruction of Brandon Rios.
Other televised bouts pit Milan Melindo against Mexican Jose Alfredo Rodriguez; Jason Pagara versus Vladimir Baez of the Dominican republic; AJ Banal against Puerto Rican Lucian Gonzales and Jimrex Jaca against Indonesian Wellem Reyk.
Meanwhile, the supervising WBO donated $10,000 to help those still reeling from the devastation brought about by Supertyphoon Yolanda.