Along with those undeserving champions are the deserving champions, the fighters who take on all challengers, defend their belts for years and sadly get over-looked by the press and general fan base. One such fighter is Filipino icon Donnie Nietes (37-1-4, 21), who is a 2-weight world champion, with a stellar record, a splattering of impressive wins, an 11 year unbeaten run and an incredible 13-0-1 (5) record in world title fights.
Nietes, the current WBO Light Flyweight champion, returns to the ring this coming Saturday as he looks to extend that run and record yet another successful defense as he takes on former world champion Raul Garcia (38-3-1, 23).
Interestingly whilst the fight could see Nietes extend his world title reign it is a fighter that sees Garcia entering the bout looking for revenge, as Nietes holds a win over Raul's twin brother Ramon Garcia-Hirales.
At his best Nietes is a wonderful chameleon in the ring. He can box, he can fight and he can be a cerebral counter puncher, and more impressively he can switch between the styles fluidly during a fight.
Trying to explain how good Nietes is, to those who haven't seen him, is really difficult. However going though his record we see wins over the likes of Pornsawan Porpramook, who was then 20-0, Manuel Vargas, Jesus Silvestre, Mario Rodriguez, Ramon Garcia Hirales, Sammy Gutierrez, Moises Fuentes, Francisco Vargas and Francisco Rodriguez Jr. The names might not mean a lot to those who don't follow the lower weights but the fighters are solid world class fighters, though some were beyond their best.
As for Garcia the Mexican is a veteran in the ring, and like Nietes, is a battle hardened warrior, with wins over Florante Condes and Sammy Gutierrez. Sadly whilst he is a veteran the last few years has seen him meandering through regional level opposition. In fact his last 5 bouts, dating back more than 3 years, have seen him face completely inept opposition. Go back a fight further we saw him come up short against Pedro Guevara, albeit in a very close fight. Incidentally two, of Garcia's 3 losses, have been close with one to Moises Fuentes seeing the two men being separated by just 2 points on all 3 cards.
At his best Garcia is a real handful, for anyone, in the division. He's tough, heavy handed, and combines physical strength with solid skills. That's not to say he's a sensational fighter but certainly a handful for anyone. Unfortunately we suspect he's far removed from his best and will instead be made to look second rate by Nietes, who will continue to be one of the sports most over-looked and under-rated world champions.