Quezon City- Two world title fights. Undercard fighters who have done main event battles.
This is Pinoy Pride 23: Filipinos Kontra Latinos, easily the country’s biggest boxing event in years which unfolds today at the famed Araneta Coliseum, considered the mecca of Philippine sports and entertainment.
The card has some of the country’s biggest names in boxing but the spotlight will be on Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo, who will put their world titles on the line against dangerous Latino foes.
The two-division world champion Nietes (31W-17KOs-1L-4D) battles Mexican Sammy “Guty” Gutierrez (33W-23KOs-9L-2D) who is a former world champion, out to spoil Nietes’ bid of extending his reign as WBO lightflyweight champion.
Nietes is currently the country’s longest reigning world champion as he has been keeping the belt since 2007. Extending the streak to one more year will allow the Bacolod City-native to tie Gabriel “Flash” Elorde’s record of seven years on top of the boxing echelon.
In a battle between two undefeated fighters, Sabillo will defend his WBO minimumweight world title for the second time against Nicaraguan Carlos “Chocorroncito” Buitrago.
Sabillo has 23 wins laced with 12 knockouts while the interim WBO interim minimumweight champion Buitrago has 27 victories with 16 knockouts.
If the results of yesterday’s weigh-in are any indication, boxing fans are in for a great boxing show.
Nietes and Gutierrez showed they’ve done their homework well as both were on the dot, tipping the scales at 108 pounds.
Sabillo and Buitrago also looked in great shape as they were also right on the money by weighing 105 pounds.
Nietes said he has studied Guitterez well, expressing confidence of pulling off an impressive win.
“He has the tendency to put his hands down and that’s something that I’ll try to exploit. He is a brawler but he can’t take punches,” Nietes said.
ALA Gym Trainer Edmund Villamor said the plan is to take advantage of Nietes’ height advantage.
“Best thing to do when you have that advantage is to jab a lot then attack from there. We have studied Guitterez’s style well and we will try to use the strategy,” Villamor said.
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Nietes said scoring a knockout is a must.
“I want to knock Gutierrez out to show that I am ready for a rematch with Moises Fuentes,” said Nietes, whose fight with Fuentes last March ended in a draw.
Unknown to the 31-year-old fighter, the Ring Magazine had just included Nietes in the top 100 pound-for-pound boxers.
“I haven’t told him yet about the accolade to keep his focus. This fight against Gutierrez is a stepping stone for him for bigger fights next year. After Fuentes, he will move up in weight and face tough opponents like Juan Francisco Estrada,” said Michael Aldeguer, CEO/President of ALA Promotions.
For Sabillo, its all about proving himself.
“This is the biggest fight of his life. There were questions when out of nowhere he became a world champion. This fight is a make-or-break for him and this will answer a lot of questions,” Aldeguer said.
In the undercard, Milan “El Metodico” Melindo (29W-12KOs-1L) tries to keep his WBO international flyweight title against Mexico’s Jose Alfredo “Torito” Rodriguez (29W-18KOs-2L), while Jason “El Nino” Pagara (31W-19KOs-2L) hopes to retain his WBO international lightwelterweight title vs. Dominican Republic’s Vladimir Baez (19W-17KOs-1L-2D).
AJ “Bazooka” Banal (29W-21KOs-2L-1D) takes on Puerto Rico’s Lucian Gonzales (14W-3KOs-7L-2D), while Jimrex “The Executioner” Jaca (38W-21KOs-6L-3D) tangles with Indonesia’s Wellem Reyk (17W-5KOs-7L-3D).