A chat with Donnie Nietes and Greg Slaughter

We spoke in Ilonggo. “Ari ko diri sang September 16 pa (I’ve been here since Sept. 16),” said world champion Donnie Nietes, when we talked late yesterday afternoon.

He arrived in Bacolod City early. “Para maka plastar gid (So I’ll be prepared),” he said.

Speaking from the mobile phone of his trainer, Edmund Villamor, he sounded upbeat. “100 percent ready na ko,” said Donnie, who spoke while at the Hotel Pavilion in Bacolod. Donnie mentioned that he had been training rigorously at both the Guanzon Stable and the One On One Gym.

This Saturday’s WBO light flyweight world championship bout against Mexican invader Ramon Garcia Hirales will be Nietes’ second major battle inside the La Salle Bacolod Gymnasium.

ATENEO CHAMP. Also late yesterday, I talked to a man who, physically, is the opposite of Nietes. Because while the ALA boxer is diminutive and weighs less than 108 lbs., Greg Slaughter is a towering giant.

Stand them side-by-side and you can’t find a more interesting pair. Nietes stands 5-foot-3; Slaugher is a 7-footer. That’s a 21-inch height difference.

Mr. Slaughter did his slaughtering last Saturday, winning the championship. It’s the turn of Mr. Nietes this Saturday to win his championship.

How did you celebrate? I asked Greg. Soft-spoken and humble, he said that he and his teammates went to the Church of the Gesu. “We heard mass to give thanks,” said Greg. “Several of those graduating from our team spoke.”

Did you give a speech? “No I did not.”

When I called yesterday, Greg had just gotten home from class. “School’s still going on for two weeks,” he said. Their big celebration after Ateneo De Manila University won its fourth straight UAAP title will be this Saturday during a giant bonfire party, an Ateneo tradition.

“It’s always sweet to be a champion,” Greg added. “Every time you win, from my wins in UV to this one here in Ateneo, it feels good.”

I reminded Greg that, since he arrived in the Philippines, each year he’s played college basketball, he’s been a champ. Next season? “I don’t know,” said Greg. He still has one more season with Ateneo and, most-likely, will be back.

How about the PBA? “Haven’t really thought about it yet. Exam week is coming up so that’s my focus now.”

The good news for Cebuanos? Greg will take a weekend vacation here. “I want to visit Cebu, to go back,” he said. “I’ll be there this October.”

DONNIE. Back to “The City of Smiles” for this weekend’s Bacolod spectacle, I also spoke to ALA Promotions’ Chad Cañares.

“Donnie’s opponent is arriving at 5:30 this afternoon,” he said yesterday. “The people here in Bacolod are excited. Ticket outlets are doing well. Many are asking for the VIP tickets.”

Their schedule is packed. Today is the media day for Ramon Garcia Hirales at the SM City Bacolod. Tomorrow, it’s the public workout of the fighters, also at SM. On Thursday, it’s the official press conference. On Friday, it’s the weigh-in, again at the SM City. The judges arrive on Thursday; the referee, on Friday.

As to the Pay-Per-View (PPV) here in Cebu, Chad announced that, because of the huge demand, that instead of SM City’s Cinema 1 (which seats 800), the venue is moved to Cinema 7, with a seating capacity of 1,200.

PINK OCTOBER. This Sunday, it’s the yearly Pink October Run to be held at The Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu. Distances are 10K, 5K and 3K.

Me’anne Alcordo Solomon, one of Cebu’s most vibrant of Rotarians, is helping organize many of this month’s activities. To join the run and the many other activities, visit Active Zone of Ayala Center.

As the Pink October organizers would say, “Remember: Early Detection Saves Lives… Early Detection Saves Money… Early Detection Is The Cure!”

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