HOLLYWOOD – As a teenager Donnie Nietes was cleaning the gym but for the past decade he’s been cleaning house in the flyweight division.
Boxing since the age eight Nietes had been in more than 50 amateur fights, even as he attended college.
Eventually he landed a job at the ALA boxing complex cleaning the gym and caring for the pet snakes thus earning him the nickname “Ahas”.
Little did he know he was on the verge of making history
At age 20 Nietes took on his first professional fight. Four years later he won his first world title and “Ahas” has never looked back.
“I never thought I would be a world champion,” said Nietes. “It just came to be. All I do is boxing and because of that I have a good life. So I followed everything and focused on my training.”
Despite his success American fight fans have yet to witness the snake.
“It was my dream to fight here in the U.S., said Nietes. “And now my dream has come true and of course I am very, very happy to fight here.”
On October 17th, a dream will be fulfilled for the Bacolod-born flyweight with a 36-1-4 record.
He headlines “Philippines vs. the World” by taking on Juan “Pinky” Alejo. He’ll be joined by three of his fellow ALA fighters.
“I’m very happy and very, very excited to fight because it is my first fight here in the U.S.,” said Nietes. “I’m sure that there is a lot of Filipinos that support us here.”
While champions Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire, and Brian Viloria have carried the Philippine flag for the past decade with their global exposure the 34-year-old believes it may be his turn to bring worldwide pride to the country.
“As long as my body could take it I’ll say when it’s right for me to retire,” said Nietes.
Depending on how his October 17th fight pans out, the snake wants a shot at the best including the current number one pound for pound king, Nicaraguan Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez who shares his weight class a chance to prove he is among the boxing world’s elite and the next in the line of Philippine boxing royalty.