‘Chasing a legend’

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Friday, May 9, 2014


CHAMPIONS come and go but a boxer’s legacy will always be remembered.

Donnie Nietes’ legacy as one of the best Filipino boxers in history is at stake tonight when he defends his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight strap against Moises Fuentes in a rematch at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Nietes is chasing the legendary Gabriel “Flash” Elorde’s long-time record as the longest reigning Filipino world champion of seven years and three months. Also on the line is The Ring Magazine light flyweight belt, the division’s lineal title.

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The thought of becoming one of the best Filipino boxers in history has added fuel to Nietes’ desire to beat Fuentes.

“I’m very happy. It will bring glory to the ALA Gym and to my family,” Nietes said yesterday. “I see it as an inspiration to win this fight.”

Both Nietes and Fuentes tipped the scales at light flyweight limit of 108 pounds.

Neites and Fuentes fought last year and the fight ended in a majority draw.

The 31-year-old Nietes won’t allow the same result in their second encounter and wants seal it with a statement win.

“There is a huge possibility that he will get knocked out if the timing is right. A knockout will be good for the fans,” said Nietes.

Nietes, who is just eight months shy of tying Elorde’s record, is 32-1-4 with 18 knockouts, while Fuentes is 19-1-1 with 10 knockouts.

“This could be the biggest fight not only for Donnie but for Philippine boxing aside from Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire. It will be historical, it is his chance to beat Elorde and put Donnie in the record books as the longest reigning Filipino world champion,” said ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer said.

The 28-year-old Fuentes has other things in mind.

“Everybody knows this is the fight of my life. A year ago, I underestimated him and didn’t train enough. This year I did everything to win. I have the hunger of a champion and Donnie has none. His time is over, it’s time for a new generation,” said Fuentes.

Milan Melindo (30-1, 12 KOs) defends his WBO International flyweight crown against World Boxing Association No. 5 light flyweight Martin Tecuapetla (11-5-2, 8 KOs) in the main supporting bout.

“If in the first few seconds or minutes of the first round I will be able to demolish him then I will demolish him. I will not leave it to the judges’ hands,” said Melindo.

One of the featured bouts is the return of Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista (34-3, 25 KOs). He is up against Mexican up-and-comer Sergio Villanueva (26-3-2, 13 KOs) in a 10-round bout.

In the undercard, unbeaten Mark Bernaldez (12-0, 8 KOs) takes on last minute replacement Marvin Tampus (27-18-2, 18 Kos); Mark Magsayo (5-0, 4 KOs) gets his first foreign opponent as he trades leathers with South Korean Hyuk Tak Joo (1-1); Joseph Von Minoza (14-6, 6 KOs) faces off with Sung Tak Joo (5-0-2, 1 KO); Cuban Reyme Castillano Aleye (4-0, 1 KO) takes on Warren Mambuanag (6-4-2, 3 KOs); and JK Elorde (3-0, 3 KOs) faces Jeffrey Garcia.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 10, 2014.

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