Smart Araneta Coliseum, Manila — ALA Promotions put together in the Philippines capital, in Manila, an excellent fight card, the Pinoy Pride 23 installment dubbed as “Filipinos Kontra Latinos”, featuring Filipino fighters against Latino counterparts. Here’s my recap of the Pinoy Pride 23.
Pinoy Pride 23 Results 30 November 2013.
Donnie “Ahas” Nietes stops Sammy Gutierrez in three, WBO light flyweight title.
Light flyweight title holder Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, now improved his record to 32-1-4 (KO 18), retained his title after demolishing his challenger from Puebla Mexico in Sammy Gutierrez in the third round. In the opening round Nietes scored twin knockdowns with his thunderous counter right hand. I thought that was it, but Gutierrez 33-10-2 (KO 23), was up on his feet before the count of ten, and survived the bumpy opening round. Able to clear the cobwebs during the one minute break, the challenger, which is famous on his brawling style, was able to regain his footing and started to fight back. Although, Gutierrez has good moments, pinning Nietes on the ropes, it was obvious that Nietes controlled the second round. In the third round start the end of the obviously outclassed challenger. Neites beat Gutierrez with a punch and landed first a big right hand before his challenger landed his own. Gutierrez visited the canvass again, obviously a done fighter, the referee stopped the fight 2:58 of third round. It was a good icing of the cake performance overall by Nietes for this Pinoy Pride card. It satisfies the knockout-hungry Filipino boxing fans.
Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo split draw against Carlos Buitrago, retains WBO minimumweight title.
Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo, now improved to 23-0-1 (KO 12) remains undefeated and retained title after chasing his challenger, Carlos Buitrago, for 12 rounds. Sabillo was struggling to find his elusive challenger who boxed beautifully throughout the fight. Sabillo was able to land some good shots though, but can’t follow up more as Buitrago fought very well on the back foot. Buitrago 27-0-1 (KO 16), moved beautifully to his left, avoiding the powerful left hand of the southpaw champion. Honestly, I’ve got Buitrago winning by a close unanimous margin. Sabillo was even rocked by a counter right hook from the challenger, that almost knocked him down. But I think, Sabillo’s aggressiveness and being the hometown favorite plus the defending champion, made the judges saw it differently and in a separate way. Here are the judges’ scorecards, 115-113 for Buitrago, 115-113 for Sabillo, 114-114- Draw. It was a split draw that’s why Sabillo retained his title. Both men remained undefeated.
Milan “El Metodico” Melindo outclasses Jose Alfredo Rodriquez in 12 for the vacant WBO International flyweight title.
Milan “El Methodico” Melindo now improved his record to 30-1-0 (KO 12), puts on a clinical dissection of his Mexican opponent in Jose Alfredo Rodriquez and captured the vacant WBO International flyweight title. Melindo was a complete fighter throughout the fight. Melindo’s speed, movement, conditioning and overall boxing skills is totally superb to his opponent. Rodriquez 29-3-0 (KO 18), had no defense for Melindo’s counter left hooks that find mark on his head and body. Melindo tattooed the face of Rodriquez, a constant recipient of his stiff jabs. Melindo hurt Rodriquez several times, but was not able to finish Rodriquez who tried to fight back every time he got hurt. Melindo won by a very wide margin to the scores of 118-110, 118-109, 119-109 for a unanimous win. It was an impressive performance right there from the ‘Method Man’ after his frustrating unanimous decision defeat, for a world title shot, in Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, in Macau, China against Juan Francisco Estrada in July.
On another note, Filipino contender Denver Cuello was working on Rodriquez’s corner as cut man against Milan Melindo.
Jason Pagara outlasts Vladimir Baez , WBO International light flyweight title.
Jason Pagara, now 32-2-0 (KO 19), retained his WBO International light welterweight title in a thrilling fight against tough-as-nails challenger from Dominican Republic Vladimir Baez. Both men were throwing heavy bombs from the beginning bell all the way to the final bell. In the opening round Pagara connected several good right hands, although some were little bit low, that Baez complained to the referee. Pagara also landed a beautiful 1-2 combinations, then step back, to avoid counter-shots from Baez. Pagara was able to land his signature overhand rights that rocked Baez several times. Pagara won via unanimous decision, the scorecard reads 98-91, 99-90 and 98-90.
AJ “Bazooka” Banal wins against Manuel Gonzalez Garcia in featherweight bout.
Former two-time world title challenger AJ “Bazooka” Banal improved his record to 30-2-1 (KO 21), wins against Manuel Gonzalez Garcia of Puerto Rico. Although I believed Banal did enough to win the fight clearly, but the scores were to wide in favor of Banal. I thought that was closer than the actual scores. The scorecards were 98-92, 98-92, and 100-90 all for AJ Banal for the unanimous victory.
Although it was a very good card for another Pinoy Pride series that found success mostly in Cebu, I quote Ryan Songalia, of RingTV.com and GMA News, which is at ringside, that the Araneta Coliseum is half-full, and said that, “Filipino sports fans don’t appreciate their boxers until the rest of the world becomes fans. Basketball is exempt from that rule”.
Attendance so far is disappointing. Araneta Coliseum is maybe half full. No support for Filipino #boxing champions not named Pacquiao
— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) November 30, 2013