BACOLOD City –Donnie “Ahas” Nietes’s star had already shined brightest, making him the envy to his challengers and an inspiration to his followers.
Nietes, who once worked as a gym boy and an-all around help at the fabled ALA gym, has become the institution’s biggest boxing star and source of pride and glory.
And why not? Nietes has cemented his legend by becoming the longest reigning world champion of the Philippines. He won his first title in August 2007 and defended the WBO minimum-weight belt five times before winning the WBO World 108-pound title in October of 2011.
He kept the title in nine defense and this Saturday, the 34-years old slick puncher from Murcia, Negros Occidental will defend it again for the 10th time against Raul “Rayito” Garcia in the “Pinoy Pride 36: A Legend in the Making” at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum in Bacolod City.
Ironically, Garcia is the twin brother of Ramon Garcia Hirales, the former owner of the WBO World light flyweight belt whom Nietes defeated five years ago, also at the same venue.
Raul is now seeking payback for the loss of his brother Ramon and the 13 other Mexicans whom Nietes has defeated.
In yesterday’s press conference, Garcia said he wants to knock Nietes out in the first five rounds.
“He has not fought a fighter of my caliber. All the other fighters he has defeated is not on the same level and experience as me. I will be his toughest fight ever and he can kiss his title good bye because I will bring it back home on Saturday,” Garcia said through an interpreter.
But Nietes believed Garcia is not the boxer who could end his reign.
“I do not see in him the qualities of the fighter who can beat me. He is not the person who can stop my ambitions (in boxing). I am sure I can beat this guy. I am prepared to go for 12 rounds but I can assure all Negrense that I will go for the knockout if there will be an opportunity for it,” Nietes said.
Nietes’s handler has booked him for a mandatory challenge against Moises Fuentes on Sept. 24 at the Stubhub Center in Carson City, California.
“In the event that Nietes will lose this Saturday then we will exercise the ‘immediate rematch’ clause of the fight contract. May it be in Carson City or in Mexico will be fine. Nietes is quite popular in Mexico,” said Michael Aldeguer, the President of the ALA Promotions.
Also fighting in the undercard is Bago City native “King” Arthur Villanueva against Juan “El Peñita” Jimenez of Mexico for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, while Milan “El Metodico” Melindo will face late replacement Maximo “Max” Flores also of Mexico for 10 rounds.
Upstart Kevin Jake Cataraja will take on Chatchai Or Benjamas of Thailand for eight rounds.