Nietes was battling against Mexico's Carlos Velarde (26-4-1, 14) and unfortunately the bout was a total mismatch, much like many had expected.
The opening round was slow, to say the least, with the fighters being told early on to refrain from clinching by referee Robert Byrd. It seemed at the time as if we may have a stinker on our hands. Thankfully the bout warmed up in round 3 as Velarde was forced to change his tactics slightly and come forward more. With Velarde finally letting his hands go Nietes began to take advantage landing crisp counters through the round.
The bout continue to get better in round 4 as the men stood up close and traded shots in a more exciting manner. It wasn't the most thrilling action of the show but it was becoming better and Nietes was beginning to take total control of the fight with his crisper punching and more rounded boxing.
Nietes control continued to grow in round 5 and by the end of the round it seemed to be a question of how long Velarde could survive as the Filipino began to let his punches go with more fluency than he had in the first 4 rounds. Velarde was beginning to shut down both mentally and physically and in round 6 he was looking tired, trying to take breaks on the ropes, a tactic that he was punished for by Nietes.
In round 7 Nietes again stepped on the pace and came forward. As he did so he seemed to hurt the Mexican who complained about a headbutt, the complaint was ignored by the Filipino who continued to attack. Soon afterwards it was apparent that Velarde was bleeding from the eye and he seen made it clear he was unhappy.
Following the the 7th round Velarde retired in his corner, giving Nietes his third successive stoppage. For Nietes however the win was more important than the manner of it and he'll now break the record for the longest reigning Filipino world champion breaking the record previously held by the great Flash Elorde.
It's expected that Nietes will now vacate the title and make the move to Flyweight however Mexico's Francisco Rodriguez Jr, who was on the undercard, has shown serious interest in a fight with Nietes who may well view a possible Rodriguez clash as the better send off to the division than this contest, especially given that Rodriguez really struggled in his bout on the same card.
(Image courtesy of rappler.com)