DONNIE `Ahas’ Nietes left no doubt as to who is the better fighter this time.
The pride of Murcia, Negros Occidental sent Mexican Moises Fuentes down to the canvas three times on the way to scoring a sensational ninth round technical knockout to retain his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight title before a sizeable Saturday crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The main event of `Pinoy Pride 25' came to an end at the 2:56 mark of the round when referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight after the tough Mexican challenger fell to the canvas for the third time courtesy of yet another cracking right at the side of the jaw from the champion.
Byrd didn't bother to count as he readily waved off the match, sparking a wild celebration at the camp of Nietes, who raised his right arm the moment Fuentes went down on both knees.
The impressive win readily erased whatever doubts were left on the outcome of their first meeting last year which ended in a majority draw and allowed the star fighter of Cebu-based ALA boxing stable to keep his 108-lbs belt.
"Ito `yung pagkakataon ko na maipakita at wala ng masabi pa ang mga tao na mahina pala si Donnie," said the 31-year-old champion afterwards.
Nietes hurt the 28-year-old challenger with a body shot in the third, but didn’t knock him down until the 2:23 of the ninth when he connected on a strong overhand right. But Byrd deducted a point on the champion after he twice swung at Fuentes while the Mexican was down on the canvas.
The second knockdown came with 54 seconds left as Nietes connected with a straight left against the troubled Mexican.
Nietes improved his record to 32-1-4, with 19 KOs as he remained on track of surpassing the seven-year record of the great Gabriel `Flash' Elorde as the longest reigning Filipino world champion.
Fuentes, cheered on by the great Mexican boxer Marco Antonio Barrera at ringside during the match presented by ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports, fell to 19-2-1, with 10 KOs.
Earlier, Milan Melindo settled for a majority decision against Mexican Martin Tecuapetla to retain his WBO International flyweight title.
Melindo won in the two judges’ scorecards, 116-112 and 115-113, but drew in the third, 114-114.
Former world title challenger Rey `Boom Boom’ Bautista had a successful ring comeback by scoring a unanimous decision against Sergio Villanueva also of Mexico.
Two judges saw it 96-94, while the other one had it 97-93 for `Boom Boom’, who came out of from a one-year retirement after losing to Mexican Jose Ramirez by split decision April of last year in Davao.