Donnie “Ahas” Nietes has plans to invade the flyweight (112 pounds) division, believing the bigger fights are in that division. Well, credit Nietes for coming up with a bold plan, because The Ring magazine’s Pound-for-Pound king Roman Gonzalez of Nicaragua, who has a record of 45-0 with 38 knockouts, is the top flyweight in the world today.
And it’s hard to forget how Gonzalez dismantled a gallant Brian Viloria in nine rounds when they met in October last year. Viloria (36-5 with 22 KOs) tried to match Gonzalez in punch output but found out the Nicaraguan was a tactical puncher who first measured and worn down his opponents before going for the kill.
I am not saying Gonzalez can turn “Ahas” into a “bulate” or worm – I’m just saying the Nicaraguan did not become the top flyweight and boxer in the world for nothing!
So far, Nietes (38-1-4 with 22 knockouts) has looked almost indestructible at light flyweight (108 pounds) and over the weekend, he won over Raul Garcia (38-4-1 with 23 KOs) to register his second stoppage win in the four title defense he made in 2015 and this year. While Garcia entered the fight without a knockout or stoppage loss, the Mexican’s last two opponents had more losses than wins.
Now 34 years old and not yet suffering a stoppage loss, Nietes still has two to three good fighting years ahead of him and can finish his career with a resounding positive note.
At junior flyweight, Nietes still has some noteworthy opponents to match with up, one of them being Ryoichi Taguchi of Japan (24-1 with 11 knockouts) who is ranked No. 1 contender. Nietes is The Ring magazine’s junior flyweight champion. Then there’s Pedro Guevarra of Mexico (26-2-1 with 17 knockouts) who is ranked No. 3.
Ranked at No. 10 is Moises Fuentes of Mexico (24-2-1 with 13 KOs) who is scheduled to face Nietes in September this year.|
There are three Filipinos in the list: knockout artist Randy Petalcorin (23-2-1 with 18 KOs) at an impressive No. 2; Milan Melindo (34-2 with 12 KOs) at No. 6; and Rey Loreto (22-13 with 14 KOs) at No. 9.
However, it is still taboo to pit top Filipino boxers in the ring, especially those who are already ranked internationally or have won world championships.
At flyweight besides Gonzalez, Nietes can take on Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico (33-2 with 24 KOs), Amnet Ruenrong of Thailand (17-1 with 5 KOs) and Kazuto Ioka of Japan (19-1 with 11 KOs) who are ranked from No. 1 to No. 3 in the flyweight rankings of boxing’s top magazine.
So the most logical opponents for Nietes should he beat Fuentes this September are Taguchi and Guevarra at light flyweight, and Estrada, Ruenrong and Ioka at flyweight. In short, the options for Nietes are plenty!
But a word of caution should Nietes invade the flyweight division: Gonzalez will find Nietes a very viable opponent because of the Filipino’s impressive reign at minimum weight (103 pounds) and light flyweight.
Maybe one to two years from now after Nietes beats at least two highly ranked flyweights, he can have a better chance of defeating Gonzalez. And show Gonzalez that he is indeed “Ahas” whose punches can numb an opponent like venom.