Felix Verdejo and Nonito Donaire took part a media workout on Tuesday ahead of their respective bouts on the Top Rank promoted card of the MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout card on TruTV from the Roberto Clemente Coliiseum this Friday night.

Verdejo (18-0, 13 KOs), from San Juan, will be making his homecoming a 10-round defense of his WBO Latino lightweight title against Josenilson Dos Santos (25-3, 15 KOs), of Sao Paulo, Brasil, and Donaire (35-3, 23 KOs), from General Santos City, Philippines, who is on the cusp of another world title shot, will be challenging WBO International junior featherweight champion and No. 1 world-rated contender Cesar Juarez (17-3, 13 KOs), of Mexico City, in a 12-round rumble.

The four boxers boast a combined record of 95-9 (64 KOs) — a winning ratio of 91%, with 2/3 of their total victories coming by way of knockout.

Below is what Donaire and Verdejo had to say during their workouts


“When I was down on the canvas in the Walters fight I thought to myself, ’this is a blessing.’ It was a blessing because I had lost my way, not giving boxing the respect it deserves. I was searching for something. I was unsatisfied. I went home and re-dedicated myself to the sport. I worked harder in the gym. I got out bed early in the mornings and did my running. I went to a Tony Robbins seminar for motivation and then read the book, The Power of Habits.

“My opponent is a tough guy and he is hungry like a wolf. My job is to beat the wolf. He’s actually ranked higher than me. He is No. 1 and I am No. 2.

“I must win on Friday night. I am out of setbacks.

“I feel like I am 21 again. My speed has increased. I can feel my power is much stronger. My happiness is back. I had a great camp.

“But I know what must be done.

“I must win.”


“It was Felix “Tito” Trinidad who inspired me when I was a very young fighter. He has given me a lot of advice. We are friends and I hope Tito comes to the fight on Friday night.

“I have no pain in my hand. I feel great. I like to feel 100 percent when I get into the ring, so I waited until my hand was completely healed for this fight.

“I feel comfortable at 135 pounds and do not have a problem making that weight. I can make 130 pounds if my promoter Top Rank asks.

“This is a big fight card and I am in the main event. I think of all the sacrifices me and our team made to get here. All of the hard work in the gym has paid off.”

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usa-today-7696004.0  Credit:  Photo by Joe Camporeale, USA Today Sports – Uber-prospect Felix Verdejo says he’s ready to make his return after hand surgery and a subsequent setback derailed his last scheduled fight.

Felix Verdejo (18-0, 13 KOs), 22, is highly anticipating his ring return this Friday night where he headlines a truTV card in a 10-round fight against Brazil’s Josenilson Dos Santos (27-3, 17 KOs). Verdejo was coming off of hand surgery over the summer (to remove bones spurs in his left hand) and was scheduled to take on Dos Santos in October — but he experienced a setback when he starting having pain in his left hand again during training – which ultimately postponed the fight.

With Verdejo being seen as the next Puerto Rican star to take over for Miguel Cotto, it should only be expected that he’s eager to get back under the bright lights.

“Everything is fine with my hand,” Verdejo said through a translator on Monday. “There’s no pain whatsoever. I’m ready to use it on (Friday).”

The one key caveat to Friday’s fight is that Verdejo’s team is really hoping this issue with his left hand won’t be a recurring problem, but that remains to be seen at this point. He previously said his hand felt fine as he began training for the October date, but started experiencing problems with it shortly before the fight.

“I was very calm when (the setback) happened,” Verdejo said. “I remained calm during the healing process. I was just waiting for the OK from the doctor to get back in the ring and now I’m ready to get back in the ring.

“There was a point where I wasn’t feeling 100 percent (preparing for Oct. 31) and I wanted my hand to feel 100 percent. That’s why we took the rest. That’s why we are coming back in December.”

Assuming he gets past this fight with no problems, Verdejo is looking to have a busy 2016, where he hopes he’ll be able to get five fights in. Top Rank’s Carl Moretti says the promotional company will not rush Verdejo into a big fight right away, instead allowing the young fighter time to develop.