WBO Super Bantamweight Champion Nonito Donaire of the Philippines is set to take on IBF titleholder Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa at the Home Depot Center in Carson California on July 7. The 33-year-old South African comes into the bout with a record of 26-3-2 with 14 KOs while the 29-year-old Donaire is 29-1 with 18 KOs and is widely regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers on the planet.
It’ll be just the second time Mathebula’s fought outside of his homeland with the first time resulting in a split decision loss to Celestino Caballero in Panama in 2009. Donaire appears to be in his prime at the moment and has already won world championships in four different weight divisions. His only loss came way back in 2001 when he was beaten by Rosendo Sanchez by a five-round unanimous decision in just his second pro bout.
Donaire is eager to take on the world’s best boxers and plans to move up in weight to keep adding to his collection of championship belts. However, it’s unclear how many division he might try to conquer. Donaire relies on his superior boxing skills to get him through most fights and if the knockouts come then so be it. He’s definitely got enough power to do damage with just one punch and has earned spectacular knockout wins over Fernando Montiel and Vic Darchinyan in his career.
Since he’s an excellent boxer and has one-punch knockout power Donaire is quite hard to beat. Mathebula, who fought in the 2000 Olympic Games, is getting on in age for a small fighter, but could be able to box with Donaire. And even though he’s had the luxury of fighting most of his career in his homeland, he’s faced several solid opponents along the way such as Takalani Ndlovu.
Ndlovu beat Mathebula by a split decision back in 2010, but he turned the tables on him in March to win the IBF title by split decision. Mathebula is a solid fighter, but not a spectacular one, and unfortunately for him, it’s probably going to take a spectacular boxer to beat Donaire. Mathebula might have a few butterflies in his stomach after travelling all the way from South Africa to Los Angeles to take part in a huge-televised card as it’s something he’s not really used to.
However, he’ll need to be ready as soon as the bell rings or he’ll be in for a rough ride. Donaire will be favoured to walk out of the ring with Mathebula’s IBF belt, but he’ll likely have to work hard to take it. If Mathebula shows up just to survive he may take it the distance, but if he seriously wants to take Donaire’s WBO belt, he’ll probably get stopped sometime after the sixth round.
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