THERE was nary a hint of despondence etched in Donnie Nietes’s face when he faced the local Cebu sports media in a welcome-home press conference at the Summit Circle yesterday.

You would think that after being on the short end of a clearly preposterous split draw verdict in his fight against Aston Palicte last Sept. 9, “Ahas” would at least show some signs of dispiritedness.

Nah.. but I guess we knew it already. The impossibly affable Nietes even had nice things to say about his fellow Pinoy title contender.

PALICTE. Though admitting he felt Palicte still lacked experience, nonetheless, “Ahas” acknowledged that the former had a lot of potential to become a world champion.

Donnie noted that Palicte’s height made it difficult for him to land his power punches. This Last Rounder thought that Donnie might have unwittingly carried his compatriot into the final moments of the fight, but Donnie quashed all that by claiming he was even gunning for a stoppage win.

The verdict was clearly awful though. I am not saying that Palicte was never in the fight, as indeed he had his moments. But over all, he was clearly outgunned and outfought by Donnie’s master ring generalship.

Palicte was missing a lot, and to me this is the eye-test metric when you judge a two-way fight. Well, stranger things have happened inside the squared circle and if you are a boxing fan, you know what I mean. STYLES. Again, the styles makes fights aphorism always finds application. Donnie is usually quite adept in fighting taller opponents. (If you doubt me, go ask Moises Fuentes what happened in the rematch).

CHOCOLATITO. While it was disheartening for Nietes not to have achieved his dream of becoming a four time world champion in as many divisions, as they say when one door closes, another opens.

Perhaps a little controversy is just what Donnie’s career needs eh? And now, who would have thought that Gonzalez would be able to rise from the dead and resurrect his career with that stunning Fuentes kayo? Donnie admitted that his ultimate dream match up would be against former pound-for- pound king “Chocolatito” and perhaps the stars are aligning themselves just about right for a potential clash between these two with a title belt down the road.

That would be a perfect milestone for Donnie’s storied career.