CEBU CITY—Donnie “Ahas” Nietes bucked two nasty cuts and a bruising battle with Moises Fuentes to retain his World Boxing Organization light flyweight crown by majority draw Saturday night at the packed Grand Pacific Ballroom of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel here.
Ducking and weaving, Nietes sneaked in jabs to win the last two rounds and earn the nod of Filipino judge Danrex Tapdasan, 115-113.
But American judges Jack Reiss and Patrick Russel both ruled it a draw at 114-114 as they gave weight to Fuentes’ aggression in the headliner of Pinoy Pride XVIII card.
True to his reputation, Nietes used his superior technical skills to thwart the vicious body blows by Fuentes, the WBO minimumweight champion who enjoyed a 4 1/2 reach advantage.
It was a see-saw battle from the opening bell, with Fuentes the busier fighter and Nietes the more accurate hitter. The Filipino left the Mexican groggy with an overhand right and a left uppercut in the fifth round.
Fuentes, however, pressed the attack in the sixth round and cut Nietes on both eyelids. The bigger and bloodier cut on the left eye was caused by an accidental head butt, the one on the right came from a Fuentes left straight.
A three-punch combination by Nietes rocked the onrushing Mexican in the ninth round, but Fuentes charged anew in the 10th, drawing blood from Nietes’ left eyelid.
Ala Promotions president Michael Aldeguer said he thought that Nietes delivered the clearer punches, but added he respected the judges’ verdict.
The 30-year-old Nietes posted his fourth draw against 31 wins and one loss. It was the first no-decision for Fuentes, 26, after 26 wins —20 by knockouts—and one loss.
While saying he clearly won, Nietes nevertheless paid credit to Fuentes’ toughness. The Mexican did not hit the canvas despite getting tagged with several solid shots.
Nietes said he was able to deflect most of Fuentes’ body shots, adding that both his arms were hurting as a result of the pounding.
Team Fuentes, led by former three-division world champion Marco Antonio Barrera, later asked for a rematch, either in Mexico or in Manila. While willing to fight Fuentes again, Nietes said he would prefer that the fight be held in Las Vegas.
In the chief support, Genesis Servania dominated Indonesian showboat Angky Angkotta, prompting the referee to stop the bout with one second to go in the seventh round.
The unbeaten Servania notched his 20th straight win, seven by knockouts. He retained his WBO Asian Pacific super bantamweight crown.
Angkotta, who dealt Nietes’ lone career loss in 2004 and has beaten 10 Filipino fighters, dropped to 26-9-1 with 14 knockouts.
In another televised bout, Jimrex Jaca stopped Thai Rachamongkol Sor Pleonchit with a flurry of punches to notch his ninth straight victory in a 37-6-3 record with 24 knockouts.
A left hook sent the Thai to the canvas in the second round and Jaca finished off the job with 53 ticks left in the seventh after decking his rival anew with a right and left combination.
Rachamongkol was able to beat the count, but the referee saw the former Muay Thai champion still groggy and halted the match. The Thai’s record fell to 13-5.
Pinoy Pride 18, staged by Ala Promotions in cooperation with ABS-CBN Sports, was aired live in Mexico and The Filipino Channel.
According to Ala Promotions vice president Dennis Canete, the fight card posted the second highest sales in the company’s history, next only to the Vic Darchinyan-Z Gorres title eliminator, which also ended in a draw, at the same venue in 2008.