When you talk to a typical boxing fan about the Philippines they rush to tell you how good Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire are. If you talk to a Filipino fight fan however there are numerous other names that get mentioned including that of 2-weight world champion Donnie Nietes (33-1-4, 19) who is without a doubt the most proven fighter currently playing his trade in the Philippines. Not only is he fighting in his homeland but he is doing so without the plaudits given to his more famous compatriots who are getting big money from US TV to fight.
This weekend we see Nietes returning to the ring in an attempt to record his fifth defense of the WBO Light Flyweight title and moving his total world title defenses to 9 defenses after previously having defended the WBO Minimumweight title 4 times and in the opposite to the Filipino will be Mexico's Carlos Velarde (26-3-1, 14), a man fighting in his second world title bout.
For those who haven't yet seen Nietes he is a technically well schooled boxer-puncher who looks absolutely amazing when he's fighting at his pace and in full flow. At other times however he looks labored and fights as if he thinks he's going to walk bouts just because he's got natural talent. The two different sides of Nietes were seen in his two bouts with Moises Fuentes. The first of the bouts saw Nietes loading up on shots and being dragged into a real struggle with Fuentes who got inside, out worked Nietes and slowed with body shots in what ended up being a highly controversial draw. Just 14 months later Nietes dominated Fuentes and stopped him in 9 rounds in what was one of the best performances of his career.
Through his 38 fight career Nietes has scored numerous notable wins over the likes of Pornsawan Porpramook, Manuel Vargas, Jesus Silvestre, Mario Rodriguez, Ramon Garcia Hirales, Moises Fuentes and Sammy Gutierrez all of whom have been in and around the world level for years. We're not suggesting that Nietes on the pound-for-pound lists but he is very over-looked and has the skills the really do impress when he's fighting to his potential.
Mexico's 24 year old Velarde is an interesting but limited fighter who turned professional aged 16 and has struggled when he has stepped up in class losing his first major step up in 5 rounds to Jesus Silvestre in 2009 and then losing to Ryo Miyazaki in a WBA Minimumweight title last year, suffering a KO of the Year contender in the process. Whilst he has sadly lost his two most notable contests to date he has scored a handful of wins including a decision over recent world champion Oswaldo Novoa and a win over Jose Argumedo.
In the ring Velarde fighters in an exciting manner. He comes forward, applies a lot of pressure and loves going to the body whilst fighting on the inside. He's not the most poweful or the quickest but he is very fun to watch. Sadly the risks he takes to apply his pressure is often his downfall as his defense is poor to say the least and he can be countered relatively easily by a half decent fighter.
Before this bout was made Nietes was given a choice between Velarde or Saul Juarez. We suspect that Velarde was chosen due to his style which is fun, but open and it's likely that that openness will leave Nietes with great big holes to exploit time and time against until he eventually stops Velarde in what we suspect will be an entertaining but 1-sided contest that makes Nietes shine like a star without needing to really work hard for the win.
For Nietes we're expecting this will be his last bout at Light Flyweight before he joins the fray at Flyweight adding further to be's most exciting division. We suspect he's intentionally picked a fighter he can look good against so that he can wave good bye to 108lbs in style and we've no real complaint there despite the fact it does leave the division relatively empty for the time being.
(Image courtesy of ALA Boxing)
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.