CEBU CITY — Nonito Donaire Jr. is still well above the super bantamweight division at 128 pounds with just a few more days before the weigh-ins on Friday.
But his father and trainer Nonito Sr. is certain that the former five-division world champion will make the 122-pound limit with ease and without dehydrating himself.
“He will make weight, his conditioning is better now than that of his last fight,” Donaire Sr. said.
Donaire Jr. makes his ring return this Saturday at the historic Smart Araneta Coliseum against experienced Brazilian William Prado for the vacant North America Boxing Federation (NABF) super bantamweight strap in the co-main event of Pinoy Pride 30 – “D-Day”.
The main event features another title defense of World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20 KOs) against Mexican challenger Gilberto Parra (19-2, 17 KOs).
Donaire Jr. is coming off a sixth round stoppage defeat in the hands of hard-hitting Nicholas Walters last October in a World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight title fight at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
This is Donaire Jr.’s return to the super bantamweight division after three fights at featherweight.
The 32-year-old Donaire Jr.’s last fight at 122 pounds was in 2013, in which he dropped a 12-round unanimous decision to Guillermo Rigondeaux.
“He’s returning back to his old form that doesn’t look for that one-punch knockout. We know then if he can do it on the actual fight,” said Donaire Sr.
The 31-year-old Prado has fought world class opponents, the likes of current WBA super bantamweight king Scott Quigg and former WBO bantamweight titleholder Paulus Ambunda.
He got knocked out by Quigg in three rounds in 2013 and lost by unanimous decision to Ambunda in 2012.
He fought only once last year and won by a first round stoppage over newcomer Marcelo Bispo.
Donaire Jr. is 33-3 with 21 knockouts, while Prado is 22-4-1 with 15 knockouts.
Albert Pagara (22-0, 15 KOs) also defends his WBO Inter-Continental super bantamweight belt against Mexican Rodolfo Hernandez (26-5-1, 24 KOs), while ALA Promotions-promoted Japanese fighter Ryo Akaho (25-1-2, 17 KOs) guns for the WBO International bantamweight belt against Ghanaian Prosper Ankrah (24-4, 15 KOs) in the undercard.