Nonito Donaire praised Carl Frampton after losing the fifth fight of his professional career at the SSE Arena on Saturday night.
The four weight world champion admitted ‘The Jackal’ was the better man on the night.
“It was a variety of styles and it was a pleasure to have been in there. He was way better than I thought and a lot tougher than I thought.
“He is tough, very tough. I put everything into the fight and other guys would have gone down but he just stood there like a while.
“It was a great pleasure to be in the ring with a gentleman who was at his best and I was at my best. And we were just clashing.
“I think I showed what I can do and the best man won tonight,
“Carl was amazing tonight and being in there was just a pleasure. I am telling the truth. he was just great.
“We came in there with everything we had and he was just better on the night.”
And the four weight Word champion says this is not the end of his career as a fighter.
“No you can’t retire after a lose to a guy like Frampton.
“A Fighter of the Year and one of the best fighters in the world.
“If I lost to a fighter who was a nothing then that would be it, But I lost to a guy who was incredible and I know that he can beat anybody out there,
“And thank you Belfast. I had such an amazing time out here and the people here are so friendly but the best fighter won tonight.”
And Dave ‘Boy’ McAuley saluted Frampton after the Tigers Bay featherweight saw off Donaire on points.
The former IBF World champion was ringside as Frampton and Donaire traded blows and McAuley was pleased with what ‘The Jackal’ produced.
“It was a good performance, he won convincingly he got the job done.
“That is all you can do. I was wrong when I said before the fight that Donaire was a ‘shot fighter.’ He was not the man he was five to six years ago - but he was far from being a ‘shot fighter.’
“Carl did well and he produced a good performance when he was under loads of pressure.
“He had the court case, a new trainer and if he lost this fight - his dream of his of fighting at Windsor Park would have been dead and buried.
“But it was a good performance and he got the job done and that is all that matters.
“He has moved on from that performance and he is much improved but I still don’t think the spark is there when he won the world title.
“That spark hasn’t shown itself yet - but Saturday night was a big, big improvement on his last fight. He will get back there.”
And McAuley says Frampton has loads to look forward to in the coming months.
“A fight at Windsor would be great for Carl. WBO champion Oscar Valdez is in the frame and so is the winner of the IBF clash between Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.”