NONITO Donaire considers himself a changed man and a better person since surviving a few trials both in his professional and personal life, including the near-death of his wife Rachel last year, entering his next fight against Zsolt Bedak with much appreciation for everything he has achieved.
“Each day, I get to better understand what gratefulness is, and what gratitude is,” Donaire said. “I have a lifetime to really be thankful and know what gratitude is."
"The only reason why I was not grateful is that I would not face myself in the mirror. That’s what majority of us do. If we look ourselves in the mirror, we make excuses that we are doing something right when we are doing wrong,” added the 33-year-old fighter dubbed 'The Filipino Flash.'
Donaire admitted his loss to Nicholas Walters in a 2014 fight for the WBA super featherweight crown made him realize a lot of things - and grateful just to be alive after a vicious sixth-round knockout defeat.
“I was very lucky that I was able to stand up kasi ‘yung iba kapag natatamaan at the back of the head, nako-coma and there are things that happen. I was thankful that I was able to get up. There, I realized that I was ungrateful with my life. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, 'At this point, I will be grateful,'” said Donaire.
The turning point, however, was when Donaire's wife Rachel lost a lot of blood while giving birth to their second son last year, a few weeks after his victory over William Prado at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in March.
“The thing that really changed me was during the birth of my second son. My wife almost passed away because she lost so much blood. It was an emergency C section, 2.2 liters (of blood) in like a matter of 10 minutes,” the WBO super bantamweight champ recalled.
“I felt her looks and I felt her body going away from me,” he added.
Fortunately for the Donaires, they survived the ordeal as they happily welcomed Jarel Logan to the family. Right there Nonito realized he needed to change his ways.
“I realized that I did not take my wife the way she should be treated as a queen, as a person that I truly love, as my partner. She has always been there for me na na-realize ko, she has done so much for me and I have to be grateful for all that, my kids, and everything, the gift that God has given to me,” said Donaire.
“That’s all the things that created this person now, this Nonito Donaire because of the gift and the experience that God has put me through to make me realize that life is such a beautiful thing, that we can wake up early in the morning and be grateful because we are alive, we are happy, we are amazing beings. I’m so blessed for that,” he added.
As he defends his WBO belt against Bedak, his first world title defense in the Philippines, Donaire said he aims to be the best that he can be in the ring, and be an inspiration to others when his career is over.
“I want to reach the best of my ability in the ring, be the best fighter in the world, and at the end of it all, to be able to say that I’m an example or an inspiration from a kid who was always told that I was nothing to becoming one of the best fighters in the world, as well as losing and winning and staying there, knowing that we make mistakes and it’s okay to make mistakes,” he said.