IT’S not everytime that you see the small guys take centerstage but this weekend at HBO’s “Boxing After Dark,” the best fighters at the flyweight and the superflyweight divisions will duke it out.
Two Pinoys will take part in this fistic extravaganza as our very own Donnie Nietes will be fighting Juan Carlos Reveco of Nicaragua while Brian Viloria will be facing Artem Dalakian of Ukraine.
The main event will feature Thai Srisaket Sur Rungvisai defending his WBC superflyweight crown against Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada.
VILORIA. “The Hawaian Punch” will be vying for another title, the vacant WBA flyweight crown, at an advanced fighting age of 37 years.
Ever since he was defeated by Roman Gonzalez in back in 2015, Viloria was able to bounce back convincingly with two victories.
Dalakian (15-0, 11KOs) will be fighting for the first time outside Ukraine, but judging from his record, it appears to have some pop in those gloves.
The favorite here is easily Viloria by virtue of his experience. Viloria by TKO in Round 9.
NIETES. Speaking of age, “Ahas” isn’t too far behind at 35 years, but like fine wine, Donnie has gotten better with age.
He is on record as our longest-reigning Filipino world champion and hasn’t tasted defeat since the only blemish on his record way back in 2004.
Donnie has long craved for that career-defining fight that will showcase him in front of the coveted American boxing audience and this fight against Rebeco (39-3, 19KOs) will be a step in the right direction.
Reveco is a boxer with good hand speed and lateral movement so this will be an interesting chess match.
However Reveco has never faced a fighter of Donnie’s caliber and I expect the latter to take over at the midway point and dominate the second half of the fight to win via unanimous decision.
MAIN EVENT. If you recall, Rungvisai (44-4, 40KOs) shocked the world when he seemingly came of nowhere to defeat then reigning pound for pound king Roman Gonzalez in March of last year.
To prove it was no fluke he knocked out “Chocolatito” in a rematch last September so we know he’s the real thing.
Estrada (36-2, 25KOs) may ring a bell to Pinoy fans as he was the one who broke our hearts when he outpointed Milan Melindo back in 2013.
On paper this seems to be a pretty even matchup. I’m sitting on the fence on this one but I think Estrada gets the nod in a close, two-way, action-packed fight.
VERBATIM. “ He says he’s going to kill King Kong.. I want to watch him try. His trash talk makes me laugh.”- Luis Ortiz who fights WBC heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder on March 3.
LAST ROUND. It’s on the wifey, my favorite Judge, Hon. Charina Navarro-Quijano who recently celebrated her birthday with friends and family members in Siargao. Cheers!
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on February 21, 2018.
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