Former 4-division boxing world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (36-3, 23 KO’s) is scheduled to face Zsolt Bedak (25-1, 8 KO’s) in Cebu on April 23, but before he climbs into the ring to defend his WBO super bantamweight title, he expressed his willingness to make another run at fulfilling his upside.
“Something I learned from that [Cesar Juarez] fight given all the ups and downs is that talent is a good thing to have, but hard work will always beat talent,” Donaire told Dennis Guillermo.
“A few years back, I think [Juarez] would have beaten me because I would have never worked as hard as I did and I wouldn’t be as motivated as I am now.”
Donaire was awarded the vacant WBO strap with a tough unanimous decision over Juarez back in December. It was a tough fight, but one that Donaire pulled off after digging deep to churn out a gritty performance.
“That [win] proves to me that I’m here and I’m willing to get with anybody and no matter what, I’ll always stand up,” said Donaire. “No matter what, I’ll always push. Any takers? That’s pretty much where I’ve always been. I will fight anybody out there and that’s always been me.”
Donaire is on a three-fight winning streak after he was stopped brutally by Nicholas Walters in 2014. He also has two technical knockouts out of his three wins and will go into his first title defense riding a wave of momentum.
But the difference now is that Donaire says he has a better appreciation for his life.
“I have two kids now and they’re just the most amazing things in this whole entire world,” said Donaire. “That’s where all the motivation, that’s where all the discipline comes from.”
There was a time when Donaire made it known to almost everyone who would listen that despite his obvious talent, his heart just wasn’t into the sport. After a tremendous run in 2012 as Fighter of the Year, Donaire sunk into complacency. He had reached the pinnacle of his career, and he just didn’t desire to remain there.
“I went up and down. The motivation aspect was kind of figuring out where my life was because the importance in my life was not boxing anymore. It was about my kids, my family,” said Donaire.
As a result, Donaire dropped a decision to rival Guillermo Rigondeaux and then a year later, the loss to Walters.
This time, Donaire says he’s ready to show the world — and himself — that he still has the ability to reach the top.
“I realized that I’m still young and I have to maximize who I am inside that ring. So now, I came back and did what I needed to do. I’m the current WBO world champion now,” said Donaire. “It’s been an amazing thing with my kids, motivating me and just helping me go show my potential from this point on.” – By Carlos Cinco
Follow this writer on Twitter: @CarlosCincoFCB