In the red corner, a boxer that almost caught up to Floyd Mayweather and Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0 but came up short in his 47th fight by a split decision, and will be looking to redeem himself. In the blue corner, a boxer whose idea of greatness is through patience and hard work. He's known as the longest reigning Filipino champion and has been chasing Gonzalez to secure his place in history. This is a match-up that has been waiting to happen for a long time now.
In this post-Pacquiao or post-Mayweather era, whichever you prefer, fighters that have been slowly making their legacy have now emerged to the mainstream. Boxing is now in a transitional era where champions are restless and rankings are shifting as fast as a jab.
Red Corner: Roman Gonzalez
In Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez’s last fight, he suffered the first loss of his career. To make things worse, it was just via split decision to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who was definitely a contender for the WBC World super flyweight title with a record of 42-4-1 before the fight.
Chocolatito’s record now stands at 46-1 and he's a super flyweight belt worse off. With this development in his career, his priority should be to regain his belt and avenge his loss to Rungvisai and then defend his title for a while.
Blue Corner: Donnie Nietes
Donnie 'Ahas' Nietes with a record of 39-1-4 and has an upcoming bout for the vacant IBF World flyweight title against Komgrich Nantapech. Nietes, after being mandated by the IBF to fight for the vacant title, has expressed his eagerness to trade leather with Roman Gonzalez for years.
Donnie Nietes, like a fine wine, has become better as time has passed. Developing and polishing his style in every world class fight he is in. Donnie Nietes, producing three unanimous decisions in a span of eight fights, is a wonder to behold.
A super fight between these top fighters of the smaller weight classes would be a fight for the ages.
Nietes versus Gonzalez
In this portion, I will express my breakdown of the style of both fighters and how I think their match-up would go.
Both fighters have a complete arsenal of punches. Nietes has the perfect command of his jab paired with a right straight that retracts as soon as it is thrown, producing just enough power to put his opponents down. In the hook department, both of his hands are very much capable of putting anyone down with an arcing trajectory.
The defence of Nietes, though not as flashy as the shoulder roll of Mayweather, is the most practical and effective I have ever seen. He teases his enemy by letting them hit his proactive guard, mixed with a restless head that's just enough to entice them to come inside where he is at his best.
The footwork of Nietes is as effective as any you would ever see, he is able to chase opponents properly and transfer enough force from the ground to his punches without losing balance.
Roman Gonzalez, in my opinion, can be described simply as economical. He doesn't do anything that is not required. Cutting off just enough of the ring to prevent his opponent from escaping, jabbing just enough to get in, and punching just enough to put his opponent down, his jab and straight are both world class, but sell short when one witnesses the perfection of his hooks and uppercuts. The short right hook that put Brian Villoria down for the first time still gives me the chills to this day.
His arcing punches almost always find their target, regardless of whether it is the chin or the body. All complemented by the effective footwork he uses that adjust enough to let him have the blind spot of his opponents.
In terms of defence, if one does not concentrate enough, they would say he uses a kind of offence is the best defence type strategy. But the more I watch his fights, the more I see the slight adjustments that he makes to his style to accommodate the opposition.
If this super fight truly comes to life, I would not dare predict a winner as early as now, but I do expect a scientific, yet aggressive, exciting, yet complex, fight that would not quiet down after a few years. All a treat to us boxing fans.
If these two stars ever fought, who do you think would win? Let us know in the comments section below.