Former world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. said on Thursday that his comeback fight against Brazilian slugger William Prado on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum will determine if he could still compete at a world-class level.
“Do I still have it?” Donaire (33-3 win-loss record with 21 knockouts) told the press during the press conference of ALA Promotion’s Pinoy Pride 30 at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Pasay City. “You’re going to see a new Nonito Donaire in this fight. I’ll reinvent myself for this fight.”
The 32-year old Donaire lost his World Boxing Association super featherweight title after suffering a devastating sixth round technical knockout loss against Jamaican Nicholas Walters on October in Carson, California.
“Featherweight was too big for me. I realized all my mistakes, admitting I’m just human,” said Donaire.
“I’m just thankful that I was able to stand again after that loss,” he added.
Donaire is set to go back to junior featherweight (122 pounds), a division he dominated before he lost to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux two years ago.
“We expect a tough fight [from Prado]. But we’re ready,” said Donaire’s father and trainer Nonito Sr.
“I respect him a lot because of his five world titles. But I’m here to give him a good fight,” said the 31-year-old Prado (22-4-1 record with 15 knockouts), a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Donaire was accompanied by reigning World Boxing Organization light flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and Prince Albert Pagara who are also set to fight against their respective opponents on Saturday.
Nietes will fight Mexican challenger Gilbert Parra (19-2 record with 17 knockouts) while the unbeaten Pagara (22-0 with 15 knockouts) will battle Mexican Rodolfo Hernandez (26-5-1 record with 24 knockouts).
“There is no reason to relax; my opponent has scored 17 knockouts in his 19 victories. I must be careful to keep my title reign. I’m ready,” said Nietes.
Parra said he admired Nietes as a fighter but he would give the Filipino a tough bout.
“I admire him because of his great boxing skills,” said Parra. “But everything has an ending, and the end will come for Nietes on Saturday. This Saturday, we will take the win.”