The legendary streak continues.
Donnie "Ahas" Nietes (35-1-4, 21 KOs) retained his WBO world junior flyweight title on Saturday, dominating Gilberto "Parrita" Parra (19-3, 17 KOs) over nine rounds of action at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines.
A heavy right hand from Nietes in the middle of the ninth opened a major gash over Parra's left eye, forcing the match official to call the fight between the ninth and 10th rounds, leaving Nietes with a well-deserved TKO victory.
The 32-year-old extended his streak as the longest-reigning Filipino world boxing champion in history, a streak that now spans 15 matches over seven years.
Nietes was originally scheduled to fight Luis Ceja, but the latter dropped out of the match and Parra was called in as a replacement. The 22-year-old Mexican fought bravely, but he was unable to defend Nietes' steady diet of jabs and overhand rights. Nietes was patient, methodical and at times overwhelming, scoring a knockdown in the eighth before earning victory by the end of the next round.
True to form, the man they call Ahas didn't get suckered into making many mistakes against the aggressive Parra.
“I don’t force myself to go for a knockout unless I have solid opportunity,” he said prior to the bout, via Josef T. Ramos of The Manila Times.
It may have taken several rounds for Nietes to reach a fever pitch, but the buildup to that bout-winning point was well worth it for legions of fans who came out to support their home-country hero.
Parra, normally a very quick starter, struggled to engage Nietes in a meaningful way early on. He darted across the canvas as much as possible, but it was Nietes who scored the most significant early blows. Nietes was able to tag his foe with a couple of strong right hooks in the first round.
Both men landed some fine, snapping blows in the second round, with Parra proving he was unafraid of the longtime champion.
Ring Magazine's Ryan Songalia gave his take on the first two frames:
Nietes indeed upped the pace as the fight went on, but Parra adjusted well and let his hands fly comfortably. Still, the Mexican challenger wasted more punches than Nietes, who seemed to throw everything with purpose and connected well on each flurry and counter. His jab proved especially useful for maintaining pressure on Parra.
After a dominant, technically precise Round 5 from Nietes, Parra clearly sensed he needed to start making inroads in this fight lest he chase the knockout in the later rounds.
He came out firing to start the sixth, landing a pair of power shots right after the bell and then later landing a flurry of blows with a minute left in the round. Nietes fired right back with his increasingly effective overhand right, but the round temporarily brought Parra back into the match.
Songalia noted Parra's improvements:
Parra's aggressive resurgence continued through the seventh round, but Nietes held his ground and pushed Parra around the ring with a strong jab.
Still, The Philippine Star noted at least one fan was getting concerned:
Nietes reasserted control with a big knockdown in the eighth, wobbling Parra with a jab and cutting him down with an overhand right.
By the ninth, Parra's left eye was dripping with blood, and Nietes was oozing with conviction. A failed counter by Parra led to him leaning into a granite-hard right hook in the middle of the round, one that landed flush on the cut.
The ref would call the fight before they saw a 10th round, sealing the victory for the impressive Nietes.
Regarding his future, Nietes showed plenty of restraint in his post-match commentary, per The Philippine Star:
With this superior display of technical ability and the length of his streak, Nietes should have no issues with picking and choosing his opponents as his career winds down. Trying to secure a bout with Ceja would be a fine way to cement his legacy and head-off any naysayers who point to Parra's status as a backup opponent.
In any case, Filipino boxing fans should be feeling pretty good right now. Nietes dominated, Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire defeated William Prado on the undercard and they have the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather bout to look forward to as well. If Pacquiao can pull off the win, it would be quite the capper on a fine string of results for major Filipino boxers.