Donnie Nietes vs. Pablo Carrillo: Fight Odds, Time, Date, Live Stream, TV Info

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2021

Sun sets behind the city skyline and the world tallest tower, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

You could forgive Donnie Nietes fans if they thought their favorite fighter's career were over.

The popular four-division world champion last fought in December 2018, earning a split-decision win over Kazuto Ioka. There have been few rumblings suggesting a return to the ring since then, but Ahas is back on a big stage. Nietes (42-1-5, 23 KOs) will take on Pablo Carrillo (25-7-1, 16 KOs) on Saturday on the undercard of the Carl Frampton-Jamel Herring championship bout in Dubai.

The vacant WBO international junior-bantamweight title is on the line in this scheduled 10-round bout. Nietes will be out to prove he can still put on a show at the age of 38 and despite a 27-month gap between appearances.

Carrillo, a veteran fighter out of Colombia, is taking the bout on relatively short notice. He was announced as a replacement for unbeaten prospect Orlando Penalba in mid-March. If he can pull off the upset, it will be the highlight of his career.


Nietes vs. Carrillo Fight Info

When: Saturday, Apr. 3 at 4 p.m. ET (main card)

Where: Caesars Palace Dubai in Dubai

TV: Channel 5 (UK)

Live stream: ESPN+ (US), IFL TV Youtube Channel (UK)

Odds: Nietes 1-8, Carrillo 11-2 (via Oddschecker, correct as of Thursday 7 a.m. ET)


Changing an opponent on such short notice can throw a wrench in some fighters' plans, but Nietes doesn't appear to be bothered by the switch from Penalba to Carrillo.

"This will be a better fight because it's for a belt,” Nietes said, per the SunStar Cebu. "I won't make any adjustments in my training. I'll continue to do what I'm doing. I'll make my adjustment on top of the ring. That's what I usually do in fights."

For an aging fighter returning from his longest spell between fights, a journeyman with seven losses seems much safer than an undefeated 27-year-old looking to make a name for himself. Nietes' last bout was against a one-loss fighter in Ioka, and some felt the decision could have gone the other way. Carrillo is a classic tune-up opponent, and Nietes will be looking build confidence and erase concerns about his age and diminishing skill set.

There's not much working in Carrillo's favor in this one. Not only is he taking the fight on late notice, but he's also had a fairly long spell away from the ring himself. Carrillo last fought in August 2019, beating Luis Golindano by fifth-round stoppage. Nietes, even in the late stage of his career, represents a huge jump in pedigree for Carrillo. He's gonna need to bring his best stuff to Dubai if he wants to have a chance in this one.

If Nietes, a heavy favorite, beats Carrillo handily, he could be put on a fast-track to world title contention. He has just one loss on his record and is the longest-reigning Filipino world champion ever.

The junior-bantamweight division doesn't have a ton of big names, and Nietes would make an attractive opponent for titleholders. He even told the SunStar Cebu that he would "love a rematch" with Ioka, who holds the WBO world title at 115 pounds.  If all goes well Saturday, don't expect Nietes to have to wait another two years to get back into the ring.