MANILA, Philippines – The “TBA” next to Roman Gonzalez’s name for his fifth title defense at 108 pounds remains for the time being, as the promoter of WBO junior flyweight titleholder Donnie Nietes dismisses rumors that they will face the unbeaten Nicaraguan on September 29.
Gonzalez, holder of the WBA junior flyweight title, versus the mystery opponent will serve as the co-feature to the flyweight unification bout between WBO titleholder Brian Viloria and WBA titleholder Hernan “Tyson” Marquez, which various media reports suggest will be in California.
Michael Aldegeur, president of Nietes’ Cebu-based promoter ALA Promotions, tells THE RING that a representative from Gonzalez’s camp reached out to them a month ago about making the unification bout, but no follow-up conversations took place. With a month and a week to go before the proposed date, Aldegeur says Nietes wouldn’t be ready to fight if Gonzalez’s team contacted them now.
“We were open to discussing the details but they never called us back,” said Aldegeur.
An email to Gonzalez’s manager Silvio Conrado requesting comment was not immediately returned.
Gonzalez is rated no. 1 by THE RING at junior flyweight, while Nietes is no. 3.
Gonzalez (32-0, 27 knockouts), of Managua, Nicaragua, is in his second title reign in as many weight classes, having carved out a reputation as the most feared knockout puncher of the sport’s lightest divisions. Nietes (30-1-3, 16 KOs), of Bacolod City, Philippines, has also held titles in two divisions as well, having remained unbeaten for the last eight years.
Nietes’ trainer Edito Villamor hopes to see the 30-year-old Nietes in a defining fight, and feels Gonzalez would provide just that.
“This is a dream fight,” said Villamor, who once challenged the legendary Ricardo “Finito” Lopez for the WBC minimumweight title. “This is a good fight, it’s exciting and a lot of people would love to watch this fight.”
Aldegeur says that there are no plans in place for Nietes’ next defense, but expects to face a mandatory challenge in either December or January in either Manila or Cebu City. The highest rated WBO challenger is little known fellow Filipino Eduard Penerio (15-1, 10 KOs), who is rated no. 1.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.
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