MANILA, Philippines - World super bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire was saddened by the knockout loss of fellow Filipino Manny Pacquiao last Saturday, but he expects the “Pacman” to bounce back.
In an interview with Dennis Guillermo of Boxing Scene, Donaire said Pacquiao can regain his old form if he focuses on the sport 100%.
“He has the power, he just needs the dedication,” Donaire said. “When you put your life on the line, you have to be 100% into it.”
“You got to put everything into it, and not take anything for granted with each moment, and just learn from what happened,” he added.
In his fourth bout against Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao showed flashes of his old form after recovering from a third-round knockdown, and forced Marquez to take a knee in the fifth round.
He controlled the action in the sixth round, but in the final seconds, he walked into a monster right hand by Marquez and fell face first to the canvas.
Pacquiao, who returned to the Philippines early Wednesday, promised his fans that he will “rise again,” though some have called on the eight-division champion to retire.
“He is still a capable fighter,” Donaire said of Pacquiao. “He can beat anybody out there, still. As long as he is focused on just one particular thing when he’s fighting, which is training, focus on boxing 100%, then he can still be the Manny Pacquiao that we’ve seen.”
In a separate interview with RingTV, Donaire pointed out that Pacquiao was fighting “brilliantly, except for that unexpected turnaround.”
“But there is really nothing you can do,” he said. “Still, there are a lot of people who were not expecting anything like that, so they’re heartbroken about it.”
Donaire admits that some people are pressuring him to defeat his December 15 opponent, Jorge Arce of Mexico, in order to avenge Pacquiao’s loss.
“A lot of people are saying that the pressure is on me, because of the fact that I’ve got to perform. But like I’ve said, I’ve accepted it. This is boxing. I’ve been through a lot of situations like this,” he said.
“I’ll just go out there and perform the best that I can, and then hope that everybody can be lifted,” Donaire added.