AS PROMISED, I am reprinting in full the official reply of ALA Promotions to Last Rounder Roel Tariman’s query regarding WBO minimumweight champion Donnie Nietes, who fights today in Mexico against Mario Rodriguez.

During the weigh-in yesterday, Donnie came in at the division limit of 105 pounds, while Rodriguez was 103.2 lbs.

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The fight will be aired on GMA 7 at 3 p.m. today.

REPLY. “First of all, in behalf of ALA Promotions, we would like to thank you for your concern for Donnie Nietes. We always welcome comments from the fans and would gladly answer your question.

The decision for Donnie Nietes to fight again in Mexico for the third time was not just a spur of the moment type of decision. Everything we do at ALA Promotions we do after a careful study as to how we promote the career of each of our fighters not just on a short-term approach, but most importantly, on the long-term goal we set for each of them.

In Donnie’s case, we believed in his capacity and his maturity to defy the odds and make history for Philippine boxing by defending his world title in Mexico for the third time. If he wins this, he will be the first Filipino boxer ever to do it.

To be great, you have to take risks and Donnie himself asked for it because he believes in the magnitude of his achievement if he wins in Mexico; that would be a big difference compared to fighting in your own backyard.

We are also aware that Donnie has not been given the respect he deserves from the fans and the media, who have not recognized his efforts as the only world champion in the Philippines other than Manny Pacquiao.

The truth about it is that Donnie Nietes is more popular in Mexico than he is in the Philippines. He gets mobbed in Mexico by autograph seekers and people wanting to take pictures with him. In fact, when he walks in public places in the Philippines together with Boom-Boom Bautista, Z Gorres and AJ Banal, the fans recognize his stablemates more and to think Donnie is a world champion.

It was Donnie himself who wanted to fight in Mexico for the third time. We too at ALA Promotions believe fighting in Mexico will do more for his career because he has the chance to make history on Aug. 15. In ALA, we make decisions with a purpose but always in the framework of what is best for our fighters’ career and livelihood.

Donnie drives his own car and has a three-bedroom house, not bad for a guy who started as a janitor at the ALA gym. We would not have allowed Donnie to fight in Mexico if we thought Donnie has no chance of winning. If he makes it on Aug. 15, then he makes history and accomplishes his dream but if he fails, we can all look back and say with no regrets that Donnie Nietes had the courage of a python that never backs down from challenges. And that is Donnie Nietes for you.

Thank you very much”

Any further comments are welcome, guys. In the meantime, let’s all spare a kind word with The Man up there for Donnie.

LIGHT HEAVIES. There’s an excellent matchup today between WBC/IBO light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson and challenger Jean Pascal.

Dawson is the top dog in the division. He is undefeated in 29 wins and has knocked out 17 opponents. He has defeated Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson twice apiece.

Pascal is another young prospect who comes in with a record of 25-1, 16KOs. That sole blemish on his record was courtesy of former WBC super-middleweight champ Carl Froch.

I expect the fight to be evenly fought with the heavy handed Pascal building an early lead. The taller Dawson will eventually take over and score a unanimous decision win.

LAST ROUND. It’s on Fillmore and Tina’s bundle of joy—Emil Franco “Mico”Gomos—who celebrates his birthday this week. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)