MANILA, Philippines – Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire credits pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao for inspiring him and helping him believe that Filipinos can succeed in the sport of boxing.
In an interview with RingTV.com's Lem Satterfield, Donaire said Pacquiao changed the world’s perception of Filipino boxers.
"Back in 1998 until about 2000, I would go to boxing chats and I would see things like... 'Filipino fighters can't break a ripe tomato,'" Donaire said.
He remembered reading that Filipino boxers “bowed down to every opponent.”
"And then, Manny Pacquiao came along," Donaire added. "Watching a fighter like Manny Pacquiao has really inspired me and helped me to have the mentality that we can do anything."
Pacquiao and Donaire are ranked 1 and 3, respectively, in THE RING's top pound-for-pound fighters.
Now, Donaire hopes to inspire upcoming Filipino boxers the way he was inspired by Pacquiao.
"I've seen a lot of guys out there that are very talented... I hope that I can inspire them like Manny has inspired me – to keep going and to keep it rolling on the world stage," Donaire said.
He also called on Filipinos to support him, Pacquiao, and other Filipino boxers as well.
"Everyone in the Filipino community should be supporting us, because this is a special time. Let's not take for granted what we have going for the Filipino community," Donaire said.
Donaire is set to defend his WBO and WBC bantamweight title belts against Omar Narvaez of Argentina on October 22.