Howdy folks. Today I’d like to talk up some potential matchups for a boxer who is rarely talked about in discussions of big fights.
Donnie Nietes is a crafty boxer who is rarely in discussions when it comes to being one of the best in the sport. People tend to forget that this Filipino veteran is in the top-10 pound for pound rankings by The Ring Magazine and also strongly considered a near pound for pounder by the Transnational Board.
Depending on how you personally feel about belts and championships anymore, technically, Nietes is considered to be a four-weight world “champion”. However, who knows anymore what a “real champion” consists of. I apologize that I need to keep complaining about this crap, but that’s exactly what it is, CRAP! There only needs to be one champion per division, not 100. That’s exaggerated, but that’s what it feels like. Any of our favorite sports, like football, baseball, hockey, basketball, etc., don’t have multiple world champions. They have one.
Anyways, Nietes has fought solid competition throughout his career, but not too many names stick out at you. I would say his best wins to date are probably, Juan Carlos Reveco and Kazuto Ioka. Both are very good fighters, but do they get on a Hall of Fame ballot? The Ioka bout was very close and could have gone either way.
If Mister Nietes wants to solidify a spot in hall of fame discussions after his career is done. He really needs to get some better names and competition on his resume. Let’s see how we can help him.
Juan Estrada is currently the top super flyweight in the world after defeating Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. If Nietes wants to prove who he is and what he is made of, this is the match he needs. Not only would this prove who the clear number one at 115 is, but it would certainly be a great boxing match to watch. Both men are high class operators in their own style, but both keep their hands moving enough to keep the intrigue of the fans. Estrada is a fantastic boxer who has good hand-speed, good power and is defensively sound. The biggest question here would be, is Nietes crafty enough to out-slick Estrada?
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is the clear number two at super fly. Him and Juan Estrada have dueled in two fantastic scraps that have resulted in two different outcomes. I would be more than happy to watch another one, however, if it doesn’t happen, I would certainly be willing to accept this bout in its place.
Rungvisai is a very good pressure fighter who has decent boxing ability, as well. He doesn’t just come guns blazing, but when he does catch his opponents with a clean shot, it usually doesn’t end to well for the opposition. Donnie is the better skilled boxer out of them, but can Rungvisai put enough pressure on to break Donnie down?
Although, Nietes is technically the older guy between the two, due to his age, the big question here is, who is really the older guy physically and mentally? Keep in mind that Rungvisai is a little more battle tested against elite competition. Two fights against Roman Gonzalez and two against Juan Francisco Estrada is better than any and all of Donnie Nietes’ opposition.
We are all aware that Roman Gonzalez is past his prime, but does he have enough left in him to win one more significant battle? Nietes and Gonzalez both have the potential to be brought up in the future Hall of Fame discussions. That’s the main reason why this is a great matchup. Yet, I also think it is still a very good bout because of the style of each man. Nietes would need to stay on the outside and try to counter Gonzalez. Gonzalez would need to be the work horse combination puncher that he has been in the past. The most significant question would be quite simply, is Gonzalez done as an elite fighter? Is he shot to the point of no return?
He sure looked like it against Sor Rungvisai in their second fight and those type of knockouts can affect fighters for the rest of their career. I would still enjoy seeing this regardless and it’s a very solid name to add to each other’s resumes.
If Nietes wants to try and become a 5-weight world “titlist”. He would need to move up in weight again and fight the top guys in the 118-pound weight class. This would be significant for Donnie’s career, as there are very few fighters who have ever been a five-division titlist. Only guys like Thomas Hearns, Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya have accomplished this feat. Not meaning that I’m comparing Nietes to any of those greats. Nonetheless, this would certainly spark interest for Nietes.
Currently Nonito Donaire holds the WBA title at 118, but will soon be duking it out with Naoya Inoue for the IBF strap, as well. Which means whoever comes out on top will be the number one guy at bantamweight. I assume it will be Inoue, however I still believe that Donaire is a huge name for Nietes to have on his resume, even if Donaire doesn’t have a title at the time of this bout. Donaire is certainly the naturally bigger man in this bout and I believe that this would turn into a quality fight between two crafty veterans. This could sell pretty well in the U.S. somewhere, like Las Vegas, or this could be huge in the Philippines, considering they are both from there. This would be a phenomenal tribute match for both men in their home country.
The biggest question here, is Nonito Donaire too big for Donnie Nietes?
Nietes could attempt to go after several different men here, such as Zolani Tete, who holds the WBO title, or Nordine Oubaali who holds the WBC title. However, like I mentioned before, let’s try not to think about the titles. The best fighter at 118 right now is Naoya Inoue and if you want to prove a point to the boxing world, you should fight the best of the best, plain and simple. This could be an interesting bout if Nietes can survive the power of Inoue.
Inoue is a monster and continues to knockout most every opponent in his path. Would Donnie Nietes be able to out box Naoya Inoue at his pace and distance?