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article imageOp-Ed: Time for Donnie Nietes to monetize soaring popularity

By Leo Reyes     May 29, 2016 in Sports
Longest reigning Filipino world boxing champion Donnie Nietes needs to seize the moment and monetize his soaring popularity after a very impressive performance against tough challenger Raul Garcia of Mexico Saturday night in Bacolod City, Philippines.
Nietes has been fighting on a meager purse for the past decade mainly because of the limited opportunity available to boxers in the lower weight limit where he fights.
Big-money fights start at the 122-pound weight limit where the likes of Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nonito Donaire, Carl Frampton, and Scott Quigg, among others are making good money.
Nietes is way below the bantamweight limit, which is why he is eager to move up a notch higher to 112 pounds and eventually to 115 where he could collide with pound-for-pound king Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez in what could be his most lucrative fight ever.
At the moment, Nietes can still engage either Juan Francisco Estrada or Gonzalez as they have yet to move up to the 115-pound limit.
The best bet for Nietes is Estrada, who is known for trashing at least five Filipino challengers since 2012 including Milan Melindo and Brian Viloria. Estrada is very popular among among Latino and Filipino fans and a possible showdown against Nietes could generate substantial revenue for them and their promoters.
A more lucrative fight for Nietes would be a future showdown against Gonzalez, who is the reigning pound-for pound king.
Nietes needs to move up to the 112-pound weight limit to face Gonzales, but while Nietes is finalizing his move to catch Gonzales at 112, the 28-year old unbeaten Nicaraguan fighter is reported to be moving up a notch higher at 115 pounds, possibly in search for fights that pay well.
Gonzales is reportedly asking a minimum of $1 million for a rematch against Estrada but the initial talks failed to gain traction possibly because of the prohibitive purse the Gonzales camp is asking.
The proposed Estrada-Nietes fight could be Nietes' richest fight in his career at this time while he waits for a rare opportunity to face Chocolatito down the road.
While Gonzalez is demanding a cool $1 million for a date with Estrada, the veteran Filipino lightweight titlist could settle for half of what Gonzales is demanding for his next fight which he can share equally with Estrada as guaranteed purse and net of television revenue sharing.
Both Estrada and Nietes are enjoying immense popularity as they have defended their titles with a series of impressive victories over durable opponents.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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