Why Sor Rungvisai Could be the new Manny Pacquiao and not Donnie Nietes

For a long time, Gennady Golovkin was being hailed as the new Pacquiao –or at least the Eastern Euro version. However, the shine seems to have worn off GGG given his last two efforts against an aroused Danny Jacobs and Canelo Álvarez. Of course, a win over Canelo in their rematch changes this in a New York minute.


Meanwhile, a soft-spoken Pinoy, Donnie Nietes (41-1-4), keeps on doing what he does best; namely, defending and winning titles. In fact, this warrior from Negros Occidental is the longest-reigning Filipino world champion; he hasn’t lost a title fight since beating 20-0 Pornsawan “The Tank” Porpramook back in September 2007. True to form, he knocked out Juan Carlos Reveco on the “Superfly 2” card on probably the biggest stage he has ever fought on. Serious boxing fans know all about “Aha.” But therein lies the rub as Donnie, who holds the IBF world light flyweight title, was not well known in the western world until his almost “perfect” performance against Reveco.

Nietes’ manager and ALA Promotions CEO Michael Aldeguer says, “What he wants is the big names and the big names are in 115, so that’s what we’re looking at. We’ll see. We’ll rest for a while and we’ll talk to Donnie and we’ll see what he wants to do. Right now, at this stage of his career, he wants to fight the big names.”

This is all well and good and Donnie remains on a path to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His record speaks for itself and although he now can be mentioned in the same discussion as Gerry Penalosa, Flash Elorde, Pancho Villa, Manny Pacquiao, and other legendary Filipino boxers, Nietes lacks the charisma to ever replace Pac-Man.

Danny is almost too good for his own good, as he fights in an economical manner, waiting patiently for his opportunities. He is a thinking man’s fighter who blends power and technique with a high ring IQ, but after all is said and done, it’s always “Manny, Manny, Manny.”

Yes, when it comes to boxing in the Philippines, there will be only one Manny Pacquiao, but when Pac-Man enters the ring for his next fight, it will be as a fighting senator who has badly slipped as a fighter. The mantle as the top Asian fighter is now there for the taking.

Sor Rungvisai

Another charismatic fighter has now exploded onto the scene and while he is not a politician, basketball player, actor, or singer, he CAN understand an American interviewer even though he cannot speak English. Like Donnie Nietes, he is soft-spoken, but unlike Nietes he is an offensive monster. Once the bell rings, he throws thudding punches that are designed to end matters at any time. When Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, aka Wisaksil Wangek, enters the ring there is a palpable anticipation of something exciting about to happen.

From the age of 13 to 16, Sor Rungvisai—like many Thai boxers– was a Muay Thai fighter (his calves are extremely large), competing against foes in a stand-up style. After being thrown to the wolves and starting 1-3-1 as a pro boxer, he finally settled down, got a new team, and made the difficult crossover adjustments to become a fearsome force. Since that inauspicious start, he is 44-1, winning by stoppage 39 times. His only setback in this span came on enemy turf in Mexico vs. Carlos Cuadras in a 12-round title fight that was stopped after eight rounds because of an accidental head butt. An equal opportunity fighter, Sor Rungvisai has beaten Thais, Japanese, Pinoys, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, and Indonesians and this is unusual for Thai fighters.

Whether Sor Rungvisai ever reaches the legendary stature of Khosai Galaxy and Samart Payakaroon remains to be seen, but whatever he accomplishes, he will have left his mark as an exciting, charismatic fighter who has fought and beaten the best.  More to the point, he is now positioned to become the new Manny Pacquiao.

Ted Sares is one of the oldest full power lifters in the world and is a four-time winner of the EPF’s Grand Master championship. Before joining TSS, he was a featured writer for BLH and Boxing.com. He is also a member of Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame.

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