BACOLOD CITY – World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight champion Donnie Nietes contends he’s ready to go up in weight and face flyweight king Juan Francisco Estrada right away.
The 34-year-old Filipino believes he can give the WBO flyweight title holder a competitive fight on any given day and doesn’t see any need for him to go through a warm-up bout in the form of a mandatory defense of his 108-lbs belt against Moises Fuentes on September 24 in Carson, California.
“Para sa akin diretso na tayo kay Estrada. Gusto ko talagang umakyat ng timbang,” said Nietes a day after retaining his crown with a fifth round TKO of Raul Garcia at the La Salle Coliseum on Saturday night.
“Kaya ko sa flyweight.”
But ALA Promotions president and CEO Michael Aldeguer disclosed the fight between Nietes and Fuentes – marking their third meeting together – is already a done deal as the WBO has mandated the Murcia, Negros Occidental native to defend his belt against the No. 1 ranked Mexican or be stripped of the crown he has held since 2011.
Prospect of meeting Estrada in the ring should come for Nietes shortly after the Fuentes match, according to Aldeguer.
“Kung tuloy na, siyempre wala tayong magagawa diyan,” said Nietes (38-1-4, with 22 KOs). “Pag-aralan na lang natin siya ulit at paghandaan.”
Nietes and Fuentes fought to a draw in their first encounter in 2013, before the Filipino scored a resounding ninth-round TKO in their rematch a year later.
While not taking anything away from Fuentes, the longest reigning Filipino world champion sees Estrada a more enticing opponent for him.
His strong belief that he can beat the 26-year-old Estrada is also borne from the fact that stablemate Milan Melindo gave the Mexican a hard time in their 2013 title match at the Cotai Arena in Macau, which the Mexican won by unanimous decision.
“Kaya nga siya ni Melindo e,” he reasoned out. “Medyo nagkamali lang si Milan kaya hindi niya nakuha.”
At the same time, Nietes was quick to dismiss the proposed rematch offered by the Garcia camp, which it wants to hold in Mexico.
“Para ano pa ang mag-rematch? Wala naman akong makukuha sa kanya,” said Nietes, who knocked down the Mexican challenger twice in the third round of their championship match.
The twin brother of former world champion Ramon Garcia reasoned out the extreme heat inside the venue forced him to tire out early and fail to answer the bell for round six.
"I was really exhausted. I was really tired. It’s too hot. I don’t feel good anymore,” Garcia said through an interpreter Sunday.
The Mexican said he can take the punches of the Filipino champ, but the heat was too much to bear.
“Rematch, maybe in Mexico,” said Garcia, whose team is to leave the country by Monday.
Nietes said he’ll only agree to face Garcia one more time for one reason.
“Kung maging world champion siya ulit, payag akong makipag-rematch sa kanya,” he said.