FOUR division world champion Donnie Nietes will be watching closely this weekend’s world title unification bout between two of the best super flyweights — Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada — in the hope that he could be next in line.
“I’ll go with Estrada,” Nietes told SunStar Cebu on who he thinks will win between the two super flyweight stars. “He’s the more technical fighter. ‘Chocolatito’ needs to knock him out because if the fight goes the distance, Estrada will beat him on points.”
Gonzalez, the World Boxing Association (WBA) super flyweight Super champion, and Estrada, the World Boxing Council (WBC) and The Ring super flyweight
titleholder, headline a blockbuster boxing show on March 14, 2021 (PH time) at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
The winner becomes the lineal super flyweight champion and the best in the division.
Gonzalez and Estrada fought each other for the first time in 2012. Gonzalez beat Estrada by unanimous decision in a light flyweight world championship fight.
Though Gonzalez outclassed Estrada nine years ago, Nietes believes that this time it will be different.
“I believe Estrada has improved a lot since they first fought,” he said.
Estrada, now at the peak of his game at 30 years old, won 15 of his 16 bouts since he fought Gonzalez.
He became a world champion by beating Brian Viloria for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and WBA flyweight straps in 2013 and a two-division world champion after a unanimous decision win over Srisaket Sor Rungvisai for the WBC super flyweight belt in 2018.
The 33-year-old Gonzalez was a beast in the lower weight divisions, winning world title at minimumweight, light flyweight, flyweight and super flyweight. He, however, finally found his match after being beaten twice by Sor Rungvisai at super flyweight in 2017.
Gonzalez would bounce back to win another world title at 115 pounds after stopping Khalid Yafai in 2020.
A few weeks after the Gonzalez vs. Estrada fight, Nietes will be making his much-anticipated ring return after a long layoff.
He’ll be up against unbeaten Oscar Penalba on April 3, 2021 at the Caesar’s Palace in Dubai, UAE.
“It’s very important that I must win impressively so that MTK (Global) can negotiate a fight with me against the winner (of the Gonzalez and Estrada fight),” said Nietes. “I won’t say that I will knock him (Penalba) out. But there’s a chance that there will be a knockout.”
Although he has been out for more than two years, the 38-year-old Nietes believes that he still has a lot left in his tank for another run at a world title and fulfill his longtime dream of fighting either Gonzalez or Estrada. (EKA)