This Saturday July 7, 2012 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Ca, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (28-1, 18 KOs) will defend his WBO super bantamweight title and attempt to gain the IBF title against Jeffrey “Mongoose” Mathebula (26-3-2, 14 KOs).
Nonito has been on a 27 fight winning streak since losing his second pro fight vs. Rosendo Sanchez. The 29 year old Donaire is a four time world champion holding belts as the WBC and WBO Bantamweight, Interim WBA Super Flyweight, and IBF Flyweight Champion. The Filipino Flash busted onto the scene with a sensational fifth round knockout of the then-undefeated Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan. Donaire not only avenged his brothers Glen’s loss, less than a year to the date of that fight, but also became the IBF Flyweight Champion in the process. ESPN’s 2011 Knockout of the year took place when Nonito knocked Fernando Montiel in the 2nd round in such sensational fashion, that superstardom was on the horizon for the Filipino American. Since that fight, Ring Magazine moved him to number 3 on its pound for pound list, and he has stayed in the top 5 since.
However, after that win Donaire tried to break ties with his promoter Top Rank and sign with Golden Boy Promotions. The dispute escalated and Top Rank sued Nonito Donaire for breach of contract. Bob Arum the CEO of Top Rank went on record and stated that Nonito Donaire is not a PPV fighter and Filipino’s don’t support him. “Filipino’s can’t stand her,” said Arum (speaking about Rachel Donaire Nonito’s wife), and that he had 4 fighters that would probably beat him in Juan Manuel Lopez, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Since then the two have reconciled and Donaire beat Vazquez Jr. Donaire has spoken on fighting the likes of Rigondeaux and Abner Mares in the near future. I’m not holding my breath because the reality of that fight happening in 2012 is slim due to Top Rank’s plan of matching Nonito up against Jorge Arce next.
Nonito Donaire’s ties to the now reformed Victor Conte, the infamous BALCO founder, who is arguably responsible for the biggest steroid abuse scandals in modern sports history has been skeptical. Nonito wanted to prove that he is a clean athlete. The Filipino Flash will be the first boxer ever to begin year round, Olympic style drug testing with the company VADA to reaffirm his status as a clean athlete.
The Junior Featherweight division is one of the best in boxing today. Names of Nonito Donaire, Abner Mares, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and Toshiaki Nishioka provide stability at the top. The next level of names at 122 pound division include Arce, Shimoda, Vazquez Jr., Marquez, Ramos and Jeffrey Mathebula.
Jeffrey Mathebula is 33 years old and has only fought one time out of his native country of South Africa. The Mongoose is looking to be the first South African champion ever to unify titles. Mathebula is a tall Junior Featherweight standing at 5’10”. Four out of his last six fights where declared split decisions. The most notable name on his record is Celestino Caballero. Caballero defeated Mathebula in a close, controversial split decision in Celestino’s native country of Panama. Mathebula thought about giving up on boxing due to feeling he was on the wrong end of 2 bad decisions against Caballero and Ndlovu. Since Jeffrey last loss, he has won 3 in a row with the latest coming by way of another split decision against Ndlovu, yet this time being on the victorious side.
My fight prediction is Donaire will Knockout Mathebula in 6 rounds. Mathebula will use his reach for the first few rounds and will try to keep Donaire away with his long jab. Nonito’s hand speed will be too much for Jeffrey to handle. Donaire is on another level. With Roberto Garcia in his corner, The Filipino Flash will look to not only win but impress us.