THE press conference for the triumphant return of WBO minimumweight champion Donnie Nietes, who has been dubbed as Philipine boxing’s newest “Mexicutioner,” was held at a Mexican-themed restaurant where “Ahas” fittingly devoured heaping servings of quesadillas and tacos.

Donnie himself revealed that his bout with Mario “Dragoncito” Rodriguez was by far his most difficult to date.

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The heat was unbearable due to the lack of ventilation at the venue. Severely dehydrated and thirsty, Donnie was crying out for water in the last few rounds. The altitude didn’t help either. At the weigh-in, the physician already advised Donnie’s team to rehydrate him quickly.

When pressed if they would still allow Donnie to fight in Mexico, ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer admitted they are not considering that anymore and quite frankly, I think that’s a relief to hear.

Implicit in these events that are fought abroad is the lack of control over logistical issues. Venue concerns, food, equipment are just added woes that a fighter can least afford to be bothered with in a championship fight.

Indeed, the devil is in the details.

WEIGHTY CONCERNS. Donnie wants to remain at his weight category and possibly equal the length of Gabriel “Flash” Elorde’s reign.

That’s a remarkable plan and quite doable, but considering that Donnie was too dehydrated already in making weight, it might be a sign that it was not just the heat that was having an effect, the struggle to stay at 105 pounds may already be taking its toll.

I look at Donnie’s wide frame and I sincerely have my concerns. At 28 years of age, Donnie might have to contend with the inescapable reality that he too will outgrow his chosen division and when that happens, it will be his team’s difficult choice to balance what’s best for his career and his welfare.

If you ask me, there are just too many weight divisions in boxing. The difference between 105 pounds and the next division, 108 lbs, which is the junior flyweight category is just one pancit canton and a medium Coke.

NO MERCY. Congratulations to our very own Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (19-0, 9KOs) who defeated Mexican Genaro Trazancos by stoppage in the 7th round. The fight was the substitute main event for yesterday’s Solo Boxeo card in Tucson, Arizona.

Gesta, who has had extensive training in mixed martial arts as well, was local boxing’s best-kept secret. Looks like the secret is out in the open and best of all, he hails from Labogon, Mandaue City. He’s as Cebuano as Sutukil.

INBOX. Last Rounder Paul Clarin shot me an e-mail opining that the media should also honor not only boxers but promoters as well who contribute to the development of Philippine boxing.

Here’s Paul:

“ I’m just wondering that most of the media personalities are very particular in promoting boxers’ achievements, but we don’t honor Philippine boxing promoters who exert sweat and money to promote fighters. Philippine boxing nowadays is dying, without Pac on the screen. We need world champions.

As a boxing fan, I see those unheralded names on my list, Sammy Gello-ani,the ALA family, Manny Pinol,the late Rod Nazario,(the man who brought Pacman to USA) and other promoters who sacrificed their own money and time to promote boxing prospects. I think it’s time to give them the fair share in limelight because without boxing promoters there would be no boxing.”

Amen to that Paul. While I can’t speak for other boxing scribes, in my case I always make it a point to praise and give credit to deserving promoters. Honest and well-meaning promoters (though few) are the true lifeblood of the sport.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on the cute Siu siblings, Ethan Victor and Ellie Nicole, and my high school buddy, Dr. Gerry Ypil who all are celebrating their birthdays this week. Cheers!