Nietes storms elite circle with venom KO
While Manny Pacquiao was not looking, the usually subtle Donnie Nietes of the Philippines scored a stormy knockout victory in California on Sunday to retain his IBF world flyweight title.
A picture at center ring, with the glowing Philippine flag flashed wide and popular ring announcer Michael Buffer gladly in attendance, appeared to have validated Nietes as the newest enrollee in boxing’s elite pound-for-pound circle.
His first big performance before an international audience, part of Superfly 2, had all the makings of a grand coming out party.
Dan Rafael of ESPN said Nietes has for years been one of boxing’s best kept secrets outside of the Philippines.
“He’s the real deal, having won world titles in three separate weight classes and beaten quality opponents,” Rafael said.
Long considered a fringe crown-holder, Sunday’s classy and dramatic stoppage readily pushed Nietes on to the world boxing center stage.
“People had started to yawn and boo,” reported roving international boxing correspondent Anthony Andales, “until Nietes decided to spew venom late in the sixth round.”
A stinging solid right to the head sent mandatory challenger Juan Carlos Reveco, a former two-time world champion, stunned and sagging at the bell. A calculated finishing slash, heralded by killer stabs to the body and punctuated with a blinding right to the head, did the job early in the seventh.
It was the most thrilling bout in the Superfly 2 presentation HBO, a boon to the world-famous ALA Stable of respected Cebu sportsman Tony Aldeguer.
Philboxing.com reported that the broadcast team, that included Jim Lampley and American boxing legend Andre Ward, was profuse with amazement over Nietes.
Nietes has not lost in 17 world championship appearances. His 41st victory (against a lone loss) on Sunday marked his 21st knockout win.
He’s expected back in Cebu from Los Angeles via Hong Kong at noontime Wednesday.