WITH just a week left before his much-anticipated US debut, longest-reigning Filipino world champion Donnie Nietes is good to go for his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight title defense against Mexican prospect Juan "Pinky" Alejo in the main event of Pinoy Pride 33 - "Philippines vs. The World" on Oct. 17 at the StubHub Center in Carson City, California.
Nietes is nearing the end of his training, in which he had a relatively impressive camp that started at the ALA Gym and continued at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym.
Nietes' main sparring partner is former world champion Brian Viloria, who is also scheduled to fight pound-for-pound king Roman Gonzalez on Oct. 17 but at the Madison Square Garden in New York.
The 33-year-old Nietes, a two-division world champion, sparred for four rounds with Viloria last Monday and then six rounds last Wednesday. He will spar with Viloria for four more rounds today.
Nietes' coach Edmund Villamor was impressed with what he has seen.
"I have not seen anything bad in training. Donnie is very impressive in sparring with Viloria, the same goes with Viloria, he has been moving well," he said.
Nietes, 36-1-4 with 21 knockouts, just arrived in the US on Oct. 1 and he has acclimatized really well.
"Donnie has adjusted really well, he really is a veteran," said Villamor.
Though Alejo, ranked No. 8 in the WBO, is unknown to most casual fans, Villamor said that he has skills and shouldn't be taken for granted.
"He is a counterpuncher, he also has a tough chin," he said. "He really is just a counterpuncher but we really don't know what he will bring up in the ring."
Alejo is 21-3 with 13 knockouts. He started his career losing his three fights but won his next 21.
"We just have to watch out for his counter punch because after a punch he quickly counters," said Villamor.
Also seeing action in the first US event by ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN are brothers Albert and Jason Pagara and Mark Magsayo.
Albert (24-0, 17 KOs) trades leathers with William Gonzalez (27-5, 23 KOs), Jason (36-2, 22 KOs) faces off with Santos Benavides (25-7-2, 19 KOs), while Magsayo (11-0, 9 KOs) squares off with Yardley Suarez (13-0, 8 KOs).