Dubious draw denies Nietes fourth division title
Donnie Nietes still hasn’t lost a fight in 14 years, but a controversial draw Saturday with Filipino compatriot Aston Palicte denied his dream of a world title in a fourth different weight class.
Judges scored the 12-round showdown for the vacant World Boxing Organization super flyweight title 118-110 for Nietes, 116-112 for Palicte and a 114-114 draw at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Nietes, 36, saw his record move to 41-1 with five drawn as his unbeaten streak since 2014 went to 34 fights — 30 wins with a fourth draw.
Palicte, 27, now has a record of 24-2 with one drawn.
Punch count statistics saw Nietes, 36, land 194 punches, 70 more than Palicte, his 40 percent of punches landed was nearly twice the accuracy rate of his rival.
While not beaten, Nietes was denied a victory that would have put him alongside Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire as the only Filipino fighters with world titles in four weight classes.
Nietes became the WBO minimumweight world champion in 2007, the WBO world light-flyweight champion in 2011 and the International Boxing Federation world flyweight champion in April 2017.
He moved up in weight to try for the title feat and gave Palicte, coming off a career-long nine-month layoff, his first world title opportunity.
Nietes suffered his only loss in a split-decision defeat to Indonesia’s Angky Angkotta in Jakarta in September 2004.
Palicte and Nietes exchanged their first sustained flurries of hard blows in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Nietes generally landed more punches by picking apart his younger and larger rival, moving well and coming inside at times to answer powerful Palicte right hands with punishing left hooks and rights of his own.
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