Donnie Nietes of the Philippines seemed to clearly get the better of countryman Aston Palicte over 12 rounds tonight in Inglewood, California, broadcast live on HBO, but in the end the judges came back with a puzzling split draw, robbing the 36-year-old veteran of what should have been a world title in a fourth weight class.
Judges had the fight 114-114, 116-112 Palicte, and 118-110 for Nietes. BLH scored the fight 117-111 for Nietes, which is also what HBO’s Harold Lederman had, for what it’s worth.
Nietes (41-1-5, 23 KO) really should be celebrating a big achievement tonight. He’s a former titleholder at 105, 108, and 112, and was looking to pick up the vacant WBO 115-pound title. He should have, but he hasn’t, as two of the judges simply didn’t see the fight correctly.
CompuBox numbers aren’t everything, of course, but they tell the story of this fight, which was Palicte, the younger, taller, longer, more powerful guy, trying and failing to land, throwing plenty of punches and missing, against the efficiency of Nietes.
Nietes landed 194 of 523 (37%) total punches, including 112 of 281 (40%) of his power shots and 82 of 242 (34%) jabs. Palicte threw plenty more, but with no great result. He landed 124 of 83 of his total shots, a paltry 15% connect rate, with 89 of 423 (21%) of his power shots landing. He landed 35 jabs at a 9% connect rate.
Simply put, the judges got this fight wrong. Well, two of them did.