Nonito Donaire is coming off a devastating loss to Nicholas Walters, in which the former 2012 ‘Fighter of the Year’ lost by stoppage for the first time in his career. It was his second defeat in as many years, which was a stark contrast from the days he was considered among the top pound-for-pound boxers.
This weekend, Donaire begins his comeback trail as he drops back down to 122 lbs against Brazil’s William Prado.
“This bout is very important fight for us because of the previous fight,” Donaire said Thursday afternoon in Manila. “I found the key to rise again. There will be a lot of entertainment for you guys.”
Will Donaire come back as the same fighter? While a lot of people coming from tough losses deal with both mental and physical issues after, the 32-year-old vet claims that wouldn’t be the case for him. In fact, he says the defeat has been a learning experience and a much needed drop back down to earth for him.
“A lot of people do get affected psychologically because of the fact that it’s never been done to them. A lot of fighters have that pride too,” he said. “But the thing about me now, I’ve changed so much from a fighter that that had so much pride, to a fighter that’s thankful for everything.”
“The moment I got off that canvas, I was just thankful I wasn’t hurt, that I wasn’t damaged,” he said. “With that mentality, all I had to do was look forward to getting better. I was never haunted by that defeat, and I was never depressed in any way.”
Video: Champ Nietes trains for ‘Donnie & Donaire’
Check out BloodyElbow.com’ footage from the open workout featuring lineal champ Donnie Nietes who headlines Pinoy Pride 30 along side Nonito Donaire.
“All I need to do now is rise up and be better. It brought me new life, actually. It made me seek for betterment.”
Donaire also noted that one of the big learning experiences he had after the loss, was slowly shifting from a technical boxer to a brawler. As he states, he slowly relied too much on his power as the knockouts piled up during his reign, contributing to his diminished output.
The puncher’s path; somewhat of a curse that Connor Ruebusch detailed to have happened to many of combat sport’s greats throughout the years.
While Donaire mentioned the subconscious shift in fighting style as a key lesson, the Filipino-American star doesn’t consider it as the biggest learning experience from all of this.
“For us, it’s more of realizing and admitting that I’m just a human person,” Donaire explains. “That when I come up in weight I have to be properly ready for it. I came up as fast as I did, not knowing that anyone was going to be able to stop me.”
“It’s just coming down to earth, and realizing that I have to take it step by step, and that I’m still small for featherweight, and that I have some unfinished business at this weight class.”
As he prepares to face a gritty albeit relatively unknown Brazilian, Donaire knows this fight will answer a lot of questions for him.
“First and foremost is Prado. That’s something we have to take care of,” he said about trying to regain past glory. “That’s really up to how this performance goes, to see if I’m ready for another world title. Does Nonito Donaire still have it? That’s the question we will all find out.”
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