Nietes deserves our collective applause
By Al S. Mendoza
DONNIE “Ahas” Nietes is now a four-time world boxing champion.
That’s after beating Kazuto Ioka of Japan on New Year’s Eve in Macau.
Hooray for “Ahas!”
Why is he called “Ahas” again?
It’s because of his love for snakes.
Nietes used to have a white python for a pet.
He carried it with him everywhere he went, the snake frightening wrapped around his neck always in public.
His pet slept with him. Because it made his wife jealous, Nietes would soon choose between his snake and his beloved.
“Of course, my wife comes first,” he said, after deciding to finally let go of his pet some years back.
His crucial decision made him more successful.
He said to himself then: “Snakes give us good fortune. I guess in parting, my pet had only good intentions for me.”
I can believe that.
Nietes has never tasted any setback since their separation.
His latest acquisition in Macau was winning the superflyweight world title, making the pride and joy of Murcia, Negros Occidental, the Philippines’ newest world sensation.
Why because his latest feat made him the third Filipino to win four world crowns in four weight divisions.
The first two, of course, to have done the trick were Nonito Donaire Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
But still, Pacquiao is miles ahead of Donaire and Nietes.
For, not only four but eight—yes, make that an unprecedented eight—world titles in eight divisions are the world plums tucked under Pacquiao’s belt.
I think no other boxer can ever surpass, not even equal, what Pacquiao has so far achieved.
And, speaking of Pacquiao, he will defend his 147-pound world welterweight crown on Jan. 20 (PHL time) against Adrien Broner in Las Vegas, Nevada.
He is the favorite but make no mistake about it: Broner isn’t a pushover as he is also a multi-titled world champion.
He used to own four world titles.
Only his lack of discipline and regard for the future has brought him misery.
Thus, his date with Pacquiao is the biggest break he’s been waiting for to regain his world standing.
That is why Pacquiao isn’t taking Broner for granted, making his training the envy of many boxers as there’s never a let-up of any kind for the PacMan.
Nietes himself is impressed with Pacquiao training ritual.
“When it comes to preparation for a fight, nothing beats Pacquiao,” I remember Nietes telling me that during one of our encounters in Bacolod City. “He is my idol in that aspect.”
Although Nietes isn’t as exciting a boxer like Pacquiao, his highly technical style has given him a handsome 42-1-5 (23 knockouts) record all these years.
And while his split decision win over Ioka was not the stuff that one is readily proud of, still, the win has validated Nietes’ climb to stardom.
In any competition, a win is a win is a win.
Nietes may not be as exciting a boxer like Pacquiao, but his ring record—isn’t he unbeaten in the last 10 years and 8 months or so?—speaks volumes that his inclusion in the hall of great fighters is long overdue.
Indeed, here’s a glass to Nietes, who, in the words of Michael Aldeguer, is “the almost unrecognized boxing hero of our time.”
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