LOS ANGELES – Donnie Nietes is not about to get overconfident notwithstanding the advantage in experience he enjoys over countryman Aston Palicte ahead of their world title fight in Cebu City this August.
While he may be a savvy veteran compared to his 27-year-old foe, Nietes has been in boxing for so long not to be wary of an upset.
“Malakas yang si Palicte so hindi talaga ako magbibigay ng kumpiyansa,” said the three-time world champion who has already began his conditioning for the August 18 bout at the Wild Card gym here. “Magaling kasi si Palicte.”
The 12-round encounter will be for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) super-flyweight title.
Nietes, 36, definitely has the advantage in fight savvy, although Palicte, a former national team member who’s vying in his first major championship bout, is younger and a lot bigger.
Nietes stands at 5-foot-3, while Palicte is 5-foot-7.
“Advantage siya sa height,” quipped the native of Murcia, Negros Occidental, who holds the record as the longest reigning Filipino world champion.
Nietes and Palicte will figure in the second all-Filipino world championship match this year, just three months after the historic encounter between Jerwin Ancajas and Jonas Sultan for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight crown.
But while Palicte is a lot bigger, Nietes is hardly concerned.
“Sa akin naman hindi ito tungkol sa tangkad, kasi boxing naman ito, suntukan naman. Hindi naman basketball,” said the soft-spoken ring star of Cebu-based ALA boxing promotions, who holds a ring record of 41-1-4, including 23 KOs.
“So puwede akong makasabay sa kanya.”
Palicte, a fellow Ilongo of Nietes who hails from Bago City, Negros Occidental, is fighting in the U.S. for the third time with a record of 24-2, with 20 KOs.