Nietes guns for knockout; Donaire starts climb back to top
Owing to his humble beginnings, Donnie “Ahas” Nietes doesn’t talk much. He never brags about his prowess and achievements in the ring.
It was a mild surprise therefore when Nietes, the former ALA Gym janitor who persevered to become the longest reigning Filipino world champion, sounded sure of knocking out Mexican Gilberto Parra in his defense of the WBO junior flyweight crown tomorrow night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We trained hard for this fight. I’ve studied his style,” Nietes said in Filipino during yesterday’s Pinoy Pride 30 press conference at Solaire Resorts & Casino Manila. “I’m really pumped up. I’m ready to knock him out.”
Though the 32-year-old Nietes boasts a 34-win (20 knockouts), 1-loss-4-draw record, Parra, 28, packs a wallop and is no pushover at 19-2 (17 KOs).
Parra said he’ll settle for a win over Nietes, who has knocked out Mexicans Sammy Gutierrez and Moises Fuentes in his last two bouts.
In contrast to Nietes’ knockout prediction, the usually vocal Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire refused to promise a stoppage in his comeback fight against Brazilian William Prado in the co-headliner of the fight card jointly undertaken by ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports.
“I’ve found the key to rise again,” said Donaire, who suffered a sixth round knockout loss to Jamaican Nicholas Walters in his last fight for the World Boxing Association super featherweight title. “I’m not walking past Prado, who’s an excellent and dangerous fighter,” said Donaire, a five-time world champion hailed as Fighter of the Year in 2012.
“If we do get past (Prado), we’ll see where I’m ranked at. If I’m ready for another world title it will be an amazing opportunity,” added Donaire (33-3, 21 KOs).
While he respects Donaire as a fighter, Prado said he expects to “win the fight round for round.”
Expected to steal the thunder from the main events are Prince Albert Pagara’s tussle with Mexican Rodolfo Hernandez.
Pagara is considered as the Philippines’ brightest ring prospect yet with his immaculate 22-0, 15 KO slate.
The 21-year-old Pagara, however, will get his toughest test yet in Hernandez, also a power puncher based on his 26-win, 5-loss, 1-draw card with 24 KOs.
During the same press conference, Nietes was presented with a Ring Magazine championship belt.
Regardless of the outcome of his bout against Parra, Nietes said he’s leaving the decision on whether he’ll climb to the 112-pound division to ALA Promotions president and CEO Michael Aldeguer.
“He’s very comfortable at his weight, he has to go through Parra and mandatory defense against (Francisco) Rodriguez in June,” said Aldeguer.