Rematch in order for Nietes, Palicte

Boxing pundits thought the older, craftier Donnie Nietes got the better of fellow Filipino Aston Palicte

Roy Luarca

Published: 1:30 PM September 9, 2018

Updated: 1:30 PM September 9, 2018

SURPRISE DRAW. The scores in the Donnie Nietes-Aston Palicte bout turned out to be perplexing. Photo from HBO Boxing's official Twitter account (@HBOboxing)

MANILA, Philippines – Officially, there was no winner between Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte as their battle for the World Boxing Organization super flyweight crown ended in a split draw Saturday night, September 8 (Sunday in Manila) at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

Though majority of fight fans and boxing pundits thought the older, craftier Nietes got the better of the taller but rawer Palicte, the judges saw otherwise. (READ: Dubious draw denies Donnie Nietes fourth division title)

While Daniel Sandoval had the 36-year-old Nietes the clear winner, 118-110, Robert Hoyle sided with the 27-year-old Palicte, 116-112. And to complete the perplexing scores, Max de Luca saw the 12-rounder even, 114-114.

So instead of Nietes grabbing his fourth world title in as many divisions and Palicte realizing his dream of becoming a world champion, the WBC 115-pound crown hangs. Neither one of the Filipino contenders, both Negrenses, will return home with the crown vacated by Japanese Naoya Inoue to climb to the 118-pound division.

Exploiting his four-inch height and three-inch reach advantage, the 5-foot-7 Palicte led in the early rounds, but once Nietes got his bearing, the pride of ALA Promotions, controlled the middle and late rounds.

According to Compubox statistics, Palicte was the busier fighter, throwing 830 punches against Nietes' 523. Nietes, however, was more efficient, landing 194 punches for a 37 percent connection rate as against Palicte's 124 hits for a meager 15 percent.

Nietes, who reigned in the 105, 108 and 112 classes, is now 41-1-5 with 23 knockouts, while Palicte is at 24-2-1 with 20 knockouts.

Most of Nietes'power shots landed too (112 of 281 for 40 percent) as against Palicte's 89 of 423 for 21 percent.

According to Philboxing, the WBO broadcast panel of Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman and Andre Ward saw Nietes the winner of the bout serving as a co-feature of Superfly 3.

But as things stand, a rematch will be in order and the Philippines will still be the winner. –