By Ronnie Nathanielsz
WBO Minimum Weight World Champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes shared the spotlight with pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao at the 11th Annual Gabriel “Flash” Elorde Awards and “Banquet of Champions”at the Sofitel Hotel in Manila on Friday.
Nietes was chosen to receive the “Boxer of the Year” award alongside WBC/WBO bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire and female world champion Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton.
However, both Donaire who according to his mother-in-law flew back to San Francisco to begin training for a planned May 28 title fight possibly against WBA champion Anselmo Moreno was a no show as well as Julaton who, also like Donaire, grew up in the US and lives in California.
Donaire was cited for winning the bantamweight title with a spectacular 2nd round knockout of Mexican veteran Fernando “KO-Chulito” Montiel last February 19 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas telecast by ABS-CBN .
The attractive 30 year old Julaton was cited for winning the WBO super bantamweight female title on June 30, 2010 with a split decision over Maria Elena Villalobos and successfully defending her title with a unanimous ten round decision over tough Franchesca Alcanter last February 25 in a fight telecast by ABC 5.
Nietes was honoured by being requested to share the presidential table with Pacquiao and wife Jinkee and Ms. Laura Elorde, widow of the late world junior lightweight champion “Flash” Elorde who reigned for almost seven-and-a-half years.
It was a good night for Nietes’ home, ALA Promotions, as the Philippines premier promotions company’s President/CEO Michael Aldeguer won the “Promoter of the Year” award.
ALA Promotions fighters Milan “El Metodico” Melindo, Rocky Fuentes, Roli Gasca, Jason Pagara and AJ “Bazooka” Banal were given awards as well.
Also present during the event was Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista who was a special guest together with now retired ALA standout Z “The Dream” Gorres with wife Datches whose remarkable comeback from brain surgery is regarded as a minor miracle.
Pacquiao who helped Gorres financially when he underwent surgery in Las Vegas and returned home, approached the classy fighter and wished him all the best.
Newly signed ALA Promotions fighters Rommel Asenjo, Edrin Dapudong and KO sensation Lorenzo Villanueva of former North Cotabato governor Manny Pinol’s Braveheart stable also received awards bringing ALA’s trophy haul to 11 for the evening.