Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. will return to the ring against William Prado of Brazil on March 28. The scheduled bout will be Donaire’s first fight in the Philippines since 2009. Donaire last fought in the Philippines was against Raul Martinez. He won via fourth round knockout.
This is also Donaire’s comeback fight after his devastating knockout loss to Nicholas Walters. Against Prado, Donaire will move back down to 122-pound division. The junior featherweight division was Donaire’s previous kingdom. He reigned as the king in year 2012. He first captured the vacant WBO strap in February 2012. He won by decision against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. And then he won another decision over Jeffrey Mathebula for the IBF strap.
Donaire (33-3, 21 KO’s) registered two more victories in 2012. He knocked out Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan in October. And he demolished veteran champion Jorge Arce of Mexico in December. With four victories in 2012, Donaire was the consensus 2012 “Fighter of the Year”. It was a successful 2012 campaign for Donaire at the 122-pound division. But a dangerous challenger observes in the sideline — the current 122-pound king Guillermo Rigondeuax.
Donaire’s returned to the ring the following year. Master tactician and Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux dethrone Donaire from his iron throne. Rigo, the most decorated amateur boxer in history, handed Donaire his first defeat since 2001.
Having a new king his most comfortable territory, Donaire decided to leave the 122 pound kingdom to Rigondeaux. He did not demand for a rematch. He planned to conquer another unfamiliar territory. Donaire moved up to the featherweight division. And he won an infamous fifth round technical decision over Simpewe Vetyeka. Vetyeka, was the conqueror of the great Chris John of Indonesia.
With the win at his first try at the featherweight territory, Donaire had big plans ahead. He planned for one title defense. And then move up again to super featherweight division to face rugged veteran Orlando Salido. That was the plan. But he must pass the test of one dangerous challenger, a true featherweight — Nicholas Walters.
In October 2014, Donaire tasted how it feels to be dominated. Not by a superior skilled fighter, but because of enormous size disadvantage. Walters, with the size advantage of a true featherweight, withstands Donaire’s best power shots. But Donaire was not able to take his.
On March 28, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Manila, Philippines, Donaire will move back down to his ideal fighting weight. With Prado in the opposite corner of the ring, Donaire is in a must-win situation if he wants to start his quest — a quest to regain his earlier status in the ring.
Nonito’s father and trainer Donaire Sr. considers Prado a “tough guy”. Although Prado is 3-3 from his last six bouts, but has a total of 21 KO’s in his 33 victories, including a first round TKO win in his last bout.
At 32 years old, Donaire maybe in the other side of the hill on his way down. But his power truly resides at the 122-pound division. When his left hook find its home, it could kiss the night goodbye.