Carl Frampton is set to face Nonito Donaire on Saturday in Belfast, and while it’s easy to see Donaire, now 35, as a past-prime fighter, Frampton says he’s looking at Donaire as the best opponent of his career.
“I had a lot of respect for Donaire back when he was a champion and I still do. He’s a quality fighter. In terms of accolades, he’s accomplished more than any other fighter that I’ve ever fought. He’s a future Hall of Famer. Hopefully, I can put myself in that bracket one day.
”He is the best fighter that I will have ever fought. That includes Leo Santa Cruz and Quigg and everyone else. Donaire has accomplished more than anyone. It’s going to be big for me to get a result here on Saturday night.”
Donaire returned the compliments:
“I have to say, Carl is an amazing fighter. I have to give it to the guy. For a long time, he was the boogeyman in boxing. He has chosen this fight because it inspires him and I came to Belfast because it inspires me.”
Frampton (24-1, 14 KO) and Donaire (38-4, 24 KO) will be fighting for the interim WBO featherweight title, with the winner looking at a shot at WBO titleholder Oscar Valdez by the end of 2018.