WBO strawweight titleholder Moises Fuentes says he is undaunted by the prospect of facing WBO junior flyweight titleholder Donnie Nietes in the latter’s home country.
The 27-year-old Fuentes (16-1, 8 knockouts), of Mexico City, Mexico, is on a collision course with Nietes (31-1-3, 17 KOs), of Bacolod City, Philippines, with Nietes’ promoter ALA Boxing telling RingTV.comthat the fight will take place in February or March in one of the two fighters’ home country.
“Nothing has been finalized or signed yet as of this point,” said Michael Aldegeur, president of ALA Boxing.
Fuentes tells RingTV.com that he is currently in light training at the Barrera Gym in Iztacalco, Mexico with trainer Jorge Barrera, who is the brother of Mexican boxing legend Marco Antonio Barrera. Fuentes says that he has received assurances from WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel that the judges and referee will be neutral should the fight take place in the Philippines.
“A champion has to fight the best,” said Fuentes, who ended the career of future Hall of Famer Ivan Calderon in October, knocking him out in five rounds in Puerto Rico. “The winner will be whoever had the best preparation for the fight, Donnie Nietes or Moises Fuentes.
“It’s not Philippines versus Mexico, it’s just him and I.”
Fuentes, who says he is currently at 119 pounds, regards the two-division titleholder Nietes as “a great champion, a legend and an excellent puncher,” adding “it’s an honor to fight him.”
Nietes, 30, won his first title in 2007 at 105 pounds before moving up to 108 pounds last year. His last bout came in November, when he scored a fifth round knockout of an 0-1 boxer in a non-title match.
Fuentes’ trainer Jorge Barrera dismissed notions that the 5-foot-7 Fuentes is moving up in weight because he could no longer make the 105-pound limit.
“Moises can make 105 pounds without a problem, but this opportunity came up and we took it,” said Barrera. “He can be at 105 pounds for a long time, that’s where he feels very good.”
Fuentes says that he has been receiving motivational advice from his trainer’s brother Marco Antonio, who held titles in three divisions while battling Erik Morales, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
“What Marco has always told me since I started to box was to always give it my all, to train like it’s the last day of my life,” said Fuentes. “He said ‘If you want poverty to end, here’s your opportunity.’ Those words always motivate me to have a positive mind.
“My confidence is based on the hard work I put in the gym and the hunger I have in this sport that has given me everything in life.”
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.