Donnie Nietes and fellow Filipino Aston Palicte settled for a split draw in their World Boxing Organization junior-bantamweight world-title fight at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday (Manila time).
One judge scored the bout 118-110 for Nietes, another 116-112 in favor of Palicte and a third made it an even 114-114.
With the result, the WBO title in the 115-pounds division remains vacant.
The draw was the fifth of Nietes’ career (41 wins, 1 loss), while it is the first such outcome for Palicte (24 wins, 2 losses).
Despite the finish, Nietes extended his personal unbeaten streak to 34 bouts dating back to September 2004.
It was a bout largely devoid of fireworks as Nietes and Palicte, both Negros Occidental natives, chose to pick their spots from start to finish.
Wary of Palicte’s reach, Nietes worked hard to find openings and when he did took advantage with well-placed shots to Palicte’s body.
Palicte looked promising at times, his punches finding their mark but not enough to put a dent on his experienced, 36-year-old opponent.
While it was Palicte’s debut on a world-title stage, Nietes is no stranger to this level of competition.
Nietes has 30 wins and 4 draws (including Sunday) since suffering his only loss, a split-decision defeat to Indonesia’s Angky Angkotta in Jakarta in September 2004.
Nietes became the WBO world minimumweight champion in 2007, the WBO world light-flyweight champion in 2011 and the International Boxing Federation world flyweight champion in April 2017.
He moved up in weight, hoping to join Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire as the only Filipinos to win titles in four weight classes.
Prior to the fight, Nietes said: “This fight represents a lot to me as I will be seeking my fourth world championship in a fourth different weight division.
“Winning the world title will put me at the level of Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire and will add worldwide recognition to my career.”
Pacquiao is the only man to win world titles in eight weight categories in boxing history. Donaire won titles in four weight classes starting at flyweight in 2007 through featherweight in 2014. — With a report from Agence France-Presse
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