Donnie Nietes gladly entertained numerous requests for pictures with fans who milled around him moments after his eight successful defense of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight throne Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson.
But his mind was elsewhere.
Nietes, who handily beat the game and gutsy but badly outgunned Juan Alejo of Mexico, was thinking about one guy: Nicaraguan Roman Gonzalez.
Gonzalez had actually fought on the same night Nietes outclassed Alejo but his win took place on the other side of the US mainland and it had a more chilling effect.
While it took Nietes all of 12 rounds to repulse Alejo, Gonzalez needed nine rounds to dispose of the rugged and capable Brian Viloria, the Fil-Am puncher who wound up getting beaten black and blue.
“Sana si Gonzalez na ang kasunod,” (Gonzalez is who I want next) mumbled Nietes as he graciously thanked those who posed for pictures with him.
For four years, Nietes has warded off threats to his reign as WBO 108-lb king.
Owing to his continued mastery of challengers thrown at him, Nietes was installed by The Ring magazine as its champion in its independent rankings of the world’s light-flys.
But Nietes feels he has outgrown the division and that it is high-time for him to go up in weight.
There are talks circulating that the camps of Nietes and Gonzalez, who packs a fearsome 44-0 record with 38 KOs, have started talks but it doesn’t look like they’re going to be paired right away first time in 2016.
Courtesy of Nick Giongco of the Manila Bulletin. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickSpeaks