By Dennis 'dSource' Guillermo
Bacolod City, Philippines -- There's a tad bit of controversy surrounding newly-crowned WBO junior flyweight Donnie "Ahas" Nietes' (29-1-3, 16 KOs) conquest of Ramon Garcia Hirales (16-3-1, 9 KOs).
Team Garcia is claiming they were robbed by the judges at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum here in Bacolod last weekend. Judges for the fight scored it 115-113, 118-110 and 117-111 all in favor of the new WBO jr. lightweight king.
Of the three judges, the Filipino judge Atty. Danrex Tapdasan was the one who scored it the closest (115-113 - same score I had in my unofficial tally). The two other judges were Americans Lisa Giampa from Las Vegas and Carlos Ortiz, Jr. from New York.
But still, Garcia's trainer Brian Castillo still feels that his fighter was duped and won by at least 3 or four rounds.
"I'm upset because I feel it was a robbery," Castillo told this scribe together with colleague Chito Katangkatang of Philboxing.com after the fight. "I know Donnie Nietes is from here. That's okay, but a fight is a fight; all the people saw that my boxer won."
I empathize with Castillo, however, in terms of how the 118-110 and 117-111 score cards came about, as Garcia rallied after the first five rounds, taking majority of the rounds until Nietes found his second wind in the 10th. "It's super loco, it's crazy," Castillo added.
Asked how his fighter feels about the decision, Castillos said, "He felt it was a robbery too. He fought with a lot of heart, great strategy and we won."
But other than the scoring, Castillo revealed that his team had a great time in Bacolod and would love to come back for a rematch with Nietes.
"I love Bacolod. The only bad thing, because we spent around 11 days here in Bacolod, the only bad thing is the judge's scoring. ALA was good, you have a lovely city and lovely women," Castillo confessed.
A rematch between Nietes and Garcia definitely makes sense. Garcia fought gallantly after being taken to school by Nietes in the first five rounds. If it weren't for a gutsy and spirited effort from Nietes in the last two rounds, Garcia, together with his trainer Castillo, would've left the country not only with their great memories of their host city, but also their jewelry.