What could have been a historic night for Donnie Nietes ended up becoming another example of controversial judging in boxing.
In the co-main event fight of HBO's "SuperFly 3" event, Nietes' fight against Aston Palicte for the vacant WBO super flyweight title ended in a split draw. One judge had it 114-114, another had Nietes winning 118-110 and the third judge had Palicte winning 116-112. As a result, the title will remain vacant.
Had Nietes won the title, he would have been the 18th male boxer in history to win a world title in at least four different weight classes, joining Mikey Garcia as boxers to accomplish that feat in 2018 alone.
The fight saw Nietes bring a more tactical approach to fighting his opponent, the taller and longer Palicte. Nietes was more effective landing his power punches, but Palicte was by far more active in the fight. Although Palicte was the more active fighter, he was wildly inaccurate on almost all of his punches as he never really connected anything big throughout all 12 rounds, though he was able to create some pressure onto Nietes and force him to be on the defensive on several occasions.
Compubox numbers favored Nietes, who landed 194 of 523 total punches (37 percent). Palicte connected on 124 of 830 total punches (15 percent).
Nietes previously fought on HBO's second "SuperFly" card as the IBF flyweight champion. Nietes knocked out Juan Carlos Reveco in the seventh round of their fight to retain the title, but would vacate the belt shortly afterwards in order to win a title as a super flyweight.
This was the second all-Filipino world title fight of 2018, three months after Jerwin Ancajas and Jonas Sultan had their own super flyweight world title fight. That bout saw Ancajas win in the first such world title fight between boxers from the Philippines since 1925.
At this moment, there's no telling if there will be a rematch or if any of the fighters will compete against someone else with the belt on the line.