Manny Pacquiao title defense highlights hectic stretch for three of country's reigning world champions
Nonito Donaire, Manny Pacquiao, and Donnie Nietes defend their respective world titles one after the other in a hectic month-long stretch for Philippine boxing. Jerome Ascano

NONITO Donaire kicks it off before icon Manny Pacquiao closes the show as three of the country’s reigning world champions stake their respective titles on the line in the coming four weeks.

The 31-year-old Donaire jumpstarts the hectic, month-long schedule of Filipino boxers as he defends his World Boxing Association (WBA) super-featherweight crown against current WBA featherweight title holder Nicholas Walters in Carson, California on Oct. 18.

The 12-round match is the main undercard of the middleweight championship unification bout between Gennady Golovkin and Marco Antonio Rubio.  

This will be Donaire’s first fight since scoring a fifth round unanimous technical decision against Simpiwe Vityeka of South Africa to win his fourth world title. The win improved his ring record to 33-2, including 21 KOs.

Almost a month after, it’s the turn of Donnie `Ahas’ Nietes to take the limelight when he puts his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight crown on the line against no. 5 ranked Carlos Velarde of Mexico.

The duel will be on Nov. 15 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel in what the 32-year-old pride of Murcia, Negros Occidental said will be his last fight in the 108-lbs division.

Nietes’ handlers, the famed Cebu-based ALA Boxing Promotions, is planning to move up in weight by next year as he pursue his goal of winning a third world title belt.

Unbeaten for the last 10 years, Nietes is also gunning to become the longest reigning Filipino world champion as he aims to break the seven-year rule of the late great Gabriel ‘Flash Elorde’ as lightweight champion.

Holder of a record 33-1-4 (19 KOs), Nietes is coming off a sensational ninth round stoppage of Mexican Moises Fuentes in their title rematch last May at the Mall of Asia Arena.

And then, there is Pacman.

The greatest Filipino boxer ever returns to the ring on Nov. 22 at the Cotai Arena in Macau and faces unbeaten American Chris Algieri where his WBO welterweight crown will be at stake.

This marks the second fight for the year of the 35-year-old legendary fighter after redeeming himself last April following a 12-round unanimous decision over Tim Bradley to regain his 147-lbs. belt. Bradley scored a split decision over Pacquiao in their first meeting in 2012.

The eight-time world division champion (56-5-2, 38 KOs) is currently in the midst of his training for the Algieri fight, which he does simultaneously while preparing for his debut in the PBA as playing-coach of expansion franchise Kia Motors.


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