Originally Nietes was scheduled to fight Luis Ceja (26-5-3, 21) in a bout arranged for March 28th at the Mall of Asia arena. The venue and date haven't changed but the opponent has with Ceja going out and Gilberto Parra (19-2-1, 17) coming in.
Ceja looked, on paper, like an interesting foe. In reality however his record was mostly padded and he shouldn't have given Nietes too many problems. In fact in our, now never to be published, preview of that bout we had hinted that we'd expect Nietes to stop Ceja due to the Mexican's wide shots that looked like they were made to order for Nietes to counter.
On paper Parra also looks like an interesting test. Again the reality is actually that Parra isn't a great opponent. His record lacks a stand out win against anyone of note and instead he has come up short in his most notable bout to date, losing a decision to Martin Tecuapetla back in November 2013. For what it's worth Tecuapetla then went on to lose to Milan Melindo in his very next fight and has since fought to a draw with Miguel Herrera.
Sadly the issues have partly arisen due to the WBO who tried to enforce Nietes into a mandatory with Francisco Rodriguez Jr (17-2-1, 11), despite the fact Rodriguez Jr was clearly not ready to enter the negotiating period for the fight, especially given that the Mexican had fought at the end of January, in a rematch against Jomar Fajardo. Who ever ordered that mandatory really does need to wonder what they were playing at considering the teams of both men had already made it clear that they were wanting to fight and that they didn't need the WBO to tell them they needed to fight.