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Nonito Donaire after TKO win: 'I'm still at that elite level. I can compete with Rigondeaux and Santa Cruz'

Nonito Donaire says that his Pinoy Pride 30 victory showed that he's still at the elite level.

Photo by Anton Tabuena

At the same venue of the classic Thrilla in Manila, Nonito Donaire made quick work of William Prado and successfully returned to the win column. After just 5 minutes of action, The partisan crowd erupted as The Filipino Flash battered the Brazilian challenger with a series of hard lefts that forced the referee to stop the contest.

Related: BE Gallery: Donaire & Nietes win big at PinoyPride

"I think it's definitely a statement on where Nonito Donaire is at. If I had trouble with him, I wasn't at that level," Donaire said following the bout. "You guys could see the difference in talent, and this guy was no joke in terms of being a prospect and up-and-comer."

"But with my power and everything that I have, I did feel that I was above that level," he states. "We got to see where I'm at in terms of my ability, and I feel like I'm still at that elite level. I can sill compete with guys like Rigondeaux and Santa Cruz."

After successfully returning to the 122 lb weight class, Donaire referred to the two other super bantamweight champions in Guillermo Rigondeaux and Leo Santa Cruz. The five-division world champ already fought Rigondeaux to a decision in 2013, and says he still has "unfinished business" with the WBA title holder.

"Anytime. If Rigondeaux allows it, we're ready", his father and coach said in Filipino.

As for his performance in his home country, Nonito only needed less than 2 rounds to get back in the win column, but he was still a bit critical of his showing.

"In terms of strategy-wise, there was still something missing for me," Nonito said. "There's still that lack of follow-up, and I was only throwing one punch at a time."

"I rate my performance probably as a 7 out of 10, or 6 out of 10."

"I still have tendencies of the old, which is to go out there and just 'destroy', like a seek-and-destroy type of mentality. I was nanggigigil," he continued. "So I stepped back, and I realized I just need to open this guy up since I already hurt him."

"One thing that I was proud of, was that I used a lot of my jab, which you guys haven't seen me do in a long time."

His coach and father also agreed with his son's assessment of the fight.

"He still didn't follow the game plan!" Nonito Sr. said in Filipino with a laugh. "I told him we should wait until the 6th round, but he was still rushing and trying to go for the quick knockout."

"It's because that bad habit has been in his system for a while now. But at least we was listening to my specific instructions during the fight and he was able to execute well."

As for their future plans, the 32-year-old boxer says he wants to get back at it as soon as possible as he look to climb back up the 122 lb ladder.

"I definitely (want to fight again) soon... Tomorrow!" Donaire exclaimed. "I'm not damaged, and I can do it tomorrow."

Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena

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