Nietes ignores Rodriguez’s challenge

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DEFENDING World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes ignored the call to a fight by Mexican WBO and International Boxing Federation minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez.

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Nietes, 32, who successfully defended his crown against Mexican Carlos Velarde via technical knockout on Sunday in Cebu City, said that Rodriguez is not popular and not a good choice for an opponent. He added though that he’s leaving the decision to his promoter if he has to fight the Mexican next year.

“He [Rodriguez] is not familiar in the boxing world and he’s not worthy,” Nietes, who improved his win-loss-draw record to 34-1-4 with 20 knockouts, told The Manila Times on Monday in a phone interview. “If you’ll ask me, I won’t fight him because he’s not popular.”

The Bacolod City native boxer’s reason seems to be valid. Rodriguez, 30, on Sunday escaped with a mere split decision draw against novice 22-year-old Filipino boxer Jomar Fajardo in their non-title bout, one of the undercard fights of the Nietes-Velarde main event.

“That’s a great fight but he [Rodriguez] didn’t win against Fajardo. I will get nothing in that fight.”

Nietes, who is expected to become the longest reigning Filipino world champion said that he would just pursue his plan to climb up in the flyweight class next year to challenge Mexican Jose Francisco Estrada for his two titles—the WBO and World Boxing Association flyweight belts.

Nietes is expected to match Gabriel “Flash” Elorde’s seven-year and three months reign as world champion (1960 to 67). In comparison, Elorde reigned in a single division while Nietes’ title reign is split in two divisions.

“I’m planning to go up in the flyweight division and face Estrada,” said Nietes, who is one of three current Filipino world-boxing champions besides Manny Pacquiao (WBO welterweight champion) and Randy Petalcorin (World Boxing Association interim light flyweight champion).

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