The all-Filipino clash between Donnie Nietes (41-1-4, 23 KOs) and Aston Palicte (24-2, 20 KOs) for the vacant WBO super flyweight title ended in a twelve round split draw in Ingelwood, California, on Saturday.
The judges scored the fight 116-112 Palicte, 118-110 Nietes, and 114-114 as the bout ended in a draw.
Pundits and observers had Nietes winning comfortably and CompuBox stats showed Nietes connected on 194 of 523 punches (37.1%) compared to Palicte’s 124 out of 830 (14.9%). Nietes was also clearly ahead in jabs (82 to 35) and power punches (112 to 89) landed.
A win for Nietes would have seen him become a four division world champion, and the third Filipino to claim belts in at least four different weight classes after Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire.
Nietes is now 41-1-5 (22 KOs) while Palicte earned a first career draw for a 24-2-1 (20 KOs) record.
The title, meanwhile, remains vacant.
“Of course I won the fight,” said Bacolod City-native Nietes. “Tonight was my first time fighting at this weight. I dealt with his reach.”
“I wanted to unify the titles. I want to fight him again.”
“It was a close fight,” said Palicte. “I was the best fighter in the first half of the fight. I threw punches. I landed punches. Towards the end of the fight, he was coming on. I’m ready to do it again.”
In other action on Saturday, Shawn Porter edged Danny Garcia in a unanimous decision to win the vacant WBC welterweight title at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Porter 30, produced a typically mauling performance, targeting Garcia’s body throughout and while confusing his opponent with feints as he fought his way to a 116-112, 115-113, 115-113 win.
— Mauricio Sulaiman (@wbcmoro) September 9, 2018
“I tell people all the time, ‘I don’t make predictions,'” Porter said after the fight. “I made a prediction and a hard one to live up to. I said I wasn’t leaving New York without this belt, and I’m not leaving New York without this belt.”
Both fighters lost hard-fought decisions to current WBA champion Keith Thurman in the past two years before being stripped of his WBC title following a shoulder injury.
A rematch between Thurman and Porter now seems inevitable.