Aldeguer predicts Donaire reign
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - March 24, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer predicted former IBF/IBO flyweight, WBC/WBO bantamweight, WBO superbantamweight and WBA featherweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. to ascend the throne once more in the 122-pound division but warned the Filipino Flash to be wary of Brazil’s William Prado when they face off in Pinoy Pride 30 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.

Donaire trained at the ALA Gym in Cebu for two weeks and Aldeguer said he looked good. “Nonito knows his body more than anyone,” said Aldeguer. “He’s very focused and determined. He will definitely be a world champion again at superbantamweight.”

Donaire, 33, lost the WBO version of the 122-pound title in a unification showdown with WBA champion Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba two years ago. He then moved up to the featherweight division, annexed the WBA crown and was stopped by Nicholas Walters last October. After bowing to Walters, Donaire said he would step down to superbantamweight.  His comeback fight is against Prado.

“We know that Prado has credentials, too, and he has nothing to lose,” said Aldeguer. “Nonito is coming from a knockout loss so that could be Prado’s advantage but it’s a fight that should determine Nonito’s career.” Prado, 31, comes with a 22-4-1 record, including 15 KOs, six in the first round, compared to Donaire’s mark of 33-3, with 21 KOs. The Brazilian hasn’t fought in nearly a year with his most recent outing a first round demolition of debuting Marcelo Bispo last April.

Regaining the world superbantamweight diadem won’t be an easy task for Donaire considering the reigning champions are all undefeated but Aldeguer said the Filipino Flash will be up to the task. Rigondeaux, 34, holds the WBO and WBA unified crowns. The Cuban has a 15-0 record, with 10 KOs, but is coming off a shaky victory over Hisashi Amagasa in a title defense where he was decked twice in Osaka last December. The WBA “regular” titleholder is Briton Scott Quigg whose record is 30-0-2, with 22 KOs. In 2013, Quigg knocked out Prado in the third round.

The IBF superbantamweight ruler is Belfast’s Carl Frampton, known as the Jackal. Frampton, 28, has a 20-0 mark, with 14 KOs. A devastating knockout artist, he used a body shot to stop France’s Jeremy Parodi and a left hook to the head to flatten Hugo Cazares. The WBC king is Mexico’s Leo Santa Cruz with a 29-0-1 record, including 17 KOs. Santa Cruz, 26, wrested the crown from Victor Terrazas on a third round stoppage and has since repulsed challengers Cesar Seda, Cristian Mijares, Manuel Roman and Jesus Ruiz.   

In other Pinoy Pride 30 bouts, WBO lightflyweight champion Donnie Nietes takes on Mexican challenger Gilberto Parra, unbeaten IBF Intercontinental superbantamweight ruler Prince Albert Pagara faces Mexico’s Rodolfo Hernandez and once highly-touted prospect A. J. Banal battles Indonesia’s Junior Bajawa in an eight-rounder.

Banal, 26, has won four in a row since bowing to Thailand’s Pungluang Sor Singyu on a ninth round knockout for the vacant WBO bantamweight title at the MOA Arena in 2012. Before the setback to Pungluang, Banal had won 11 straight. His only other defeat was to Panama’s Rafael Concepcion who scored a 10th round stoppage in Cebu in 2008.

“A. J. needs more time to find himself,” said Aldeguer. “It’s only he who knows. He had a so-so performance against a journeyman (Thailand’s Maksaisai Sithsaithong) in his last bout. Now, this is another fight A. J. should walk through if he still has what it takes. Right now, he is far from the level he should be at.”

Bajawa, 24, has a 14-5 record, with seven KOs, compared to Banal’s 32-2-1, with 22 KOs. The Indonesian has lost his last four outings, two in the Philippines and two in Thailand. Although Bajawa isn’t expected to provide stiff opposition, the pressure is on Banal to score an impressive win. Banal was once considered a future world champion but his stock fell badly after losing to Concepcion and Pungluang. He is now ranked No. 31 by the WBC. Banal isn’t rated by the WBA, WBO and IBF.


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