The Disappearance Of Donnie Nietes
Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23 KOs) is one of the more accomplished fighters in boxing within the last ten to 15 years, especially within the smaller weight divisions. A four-time world champion in four different weight divisions, the 38-year-old from Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines’ accomplishments can not be denied.
Yet, in spite of all that he’s done in the ring, his career has been plagued by two main issues. One, he is mainly known among hardcore fans and regular observers of the sport’s Little Big Men. Second and more importantly, there has been a lack of high-profile opponents in his resume. Yes, anyone who has seen Nietes fight will bear witness that his array of skills is on par with anyone in the sport. But unlike his contemporaries like Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, and Naoya Inoue, the big names are largely missing on his resume.
That glaring asterisk on his record was answered somewhat when he defeated Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14 KOs) on December 31, 2018, in Macau, China to win the vacant WBO world Junior Bantamweight title. What made the win so special was that he defeated an Ioka who at the time was a three-time, three-division world champion and one of the more widely-known fighters on the continent of Asia.
It was a career-best win for Nietes. At last, it looked like the Filipino would receive the recognition and attention he so badly desired. Afterward, he called for a fight against then-WBC 115-pound world champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (48-5-1, 41 KOs). Then suddenly, Nietes basically went ghost.
HOW HE FELL OFF THE MAP
In February of 2019, Nietes decided to give up the WBO World 115-pound strap in hopes of pursuing big fights in and around his division against the likes of Gonzalez, Estrada, and Rungvisai. After that initial move, you have heard little from him without any real explanation. There certainly is no official announcement of his retirement circulating.
According to Asia Boxing Media source Asian Boxing, he’s a wanted man and regularly receives offers to fight. Formerly promoted by ALA Boxing, Nietes is technically now a free agent in the aftermath of the news that the promotional company has decided to close its doors due to financial difficulty. So it is an open question as to what Nietes’ next move will be. Maybe given his age and the years he’s invested in the sport, it may be a case of him low-key deciding that he’s had enough, but has not made the announcement public.
The shame of it is that Nietes would give the elite fighters from 112-118 pounds all they could handle in the ring, even at his advanced age. If he’s officially done, then hats-off to what has been a low-key great career. If Nietes is not done yet, what in the world is he waiting on? At this point, it would be nice if he would let us know exactly what he’s going to do.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.