Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fair Play: You can bet the house on Donnie winning

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's May 20 edition)
I'M not a betting man, but if I was, I'd bet my buddy's bonus on Donnie Nietes stopping that cocky Mexican challenger in Pinoy Pride 31. I'd probably throw in his new ride, too.

Donnie, like most Pinoy fighters, especially those from ALA, is not one to boast. They'd let their fists do the talking. Many sportswriters have been disappointed that they can't lead with, "I'll beat the crap out of him," in their stories instead of, "I will just try to do my best."

But Donnie's body of works--longest-reigning Pinoy champion and three defenses in Mexico--speak volumes, and when he says he'll do his best, it doesn't mean he's 100 percent ready, it means he can go another 12 rounds after a 12-round fight. That's how Donnie is.



And Donnie is pissed at his latest cocky challenger, Mexican Francisco Rodriguez. I think he's been pissed since last year, when the Mexican challenge Nietes for a title clash in Pinoy Pride 29, when Nietes was to face Carlos Velarde.

Unfortunately, and this is why I think Donnie will win, Rodriguez's foe, Jomar Fajardo, forgot about his part of the script and the last-minute replacement battered the cockiness out of the Mexican for 12 tough rounds.

He won the rematch too, by decision, but Fajardo, who is a nondescripit 14-5-2 fighter compared to the 17-2, 11-KO Rodriguez, has shown the ever observant ALA trainers the blueprint in beating Rodriguez.

And experience-wise, the odds favor Donnie, who was setting history by making three title defenses against Mexicans in Mexico in 2010 when Rodriguez made his debut.

So, I’m confident Donnie will win, you can bet your wife’s Christmas bonus on it, because going 36-1-4 after the July 4 bout could set Donnie up with the tastiest of all challenges against the 43-0 Roman Gonzalez, the feared fighter from Nicaragua who has stopped 37 of his 43 foes.

And that bout, though not as big as Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, is going to be one of the biggest in boxing. That's the real battle for greatness.

It won’t be a battle of undefeated fighters, but it might as well be as Donnie’s lone defeat was a bum decision against an Indonesian fighter who lost two teeth in his supposed victory. That fighter now isn’t even worthy enough to lace Donnie’s gloves.

After the dud Battle for Greatness three weeks ago in Las Vegas, wouldn’t it be great if the real Battle for Greatness would happen in Cebu later this year?

I hope the boxing gods smile kindly on us.

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