The HBO World Championship Boxing TV Cheat Sheet- July 7, 2012
By Martin Mulcahey, MaxBoxing (July 7, 2012) Special to Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
-  
Donaire vs Mathebula
The offering on HBO tonight is a bit of a mixed bag, featuring a pound-for-pound entrant against a capable challenger and one-time star trying to regain his luster against a gritty opponent. Nonito Donaire always seems on the precipice of stardom, only to have a lengthy layoff or ordinary outing prevent him from taking that leap. South African Jeffrey Mathebula was chosen as Donaire’s opponent because he brings an alphabet belt with him but Mathebula is also a big and awkward foe who could make Donaire look ordinary. Kelly Pavlik had that crossover appeal for a short time, after beating Jermain Taylor and before losing to Bernard Hopkins, and his subsequent fall into alcoholism and current recovery battle is the stuff of VH1’s “Behind the Music” documentary. Tonight’s feature attractions are not only battling troublesome foes but the weight of expectations from a sport searching for the next set of applicants to replace aging stars Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

At the Home Depot Center, Los Angeles, CA
(HBO) Nonito Donaire (28-1) vs. Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3-2)
(The Ring magazine #3 junior featherweight vs. #6)
(IBF and WBO junior featherweight belts)
(HBO) Kelly Pavlik (39-2) vs. Will Rosinsky (16-1)

Will Rosinsky – New York prospect won famed NYC Golden Gloves competition four consecutive years and represented America in international competitions, finishing with an 85-12 record. Just as importantly, Rosinsky shared the same gym with Jaidon Codrington, Curtis Stevens and Gary Stark, improving through heated sparring sessions. Rosinsky also breaks boxer stereotypes by graduating from Queen’s College and as a New York City Fire Department EMT (emergency medical technician). In the ring, Rosinsky starts fast, stopping seven of nine kayo victims in two rounds or less. However, only five opponents had winning records and Rosinsky’s spirited decision loss to contender Edwin Rodriguez is his best performance along with a decision win over Aaron Pryor Jr. An infighter at heart, Rosinsky is a smothering force more than hard puncher. If allowed to plant his forehead on an opponent’s chest and punch away the entire fight, he will. Rosinsky works the body consistently but he does not lean fully into his shots, preferring placement over power. In fact, that seems to be Rosinsky’s propensity for every punch, rarely delivering a blow with a solid thud. Reminiscent of John Ruiz in that way but without the excessive clinching. On defense, keeps both hands high when backing up but with a wide enough split to land a shot down the middle. Covers up in a shell working his way inside, lashing out of the crouch with accurate hooks. Has bad tendency of standing fully upright sometimes, almost like he calls a timeout to stretch, and Rosinsky lacks the speed to get back into a proper offensive or defensive position. A defensive lapse got Rosinsky dropped by a .500 foe; looking more upset at his lack of concentration than hurt, Rosinsky finished his opponent in the same round. Rosinsky is hesitant at times, uncertain about commitment to punches and favors defense over offense when in doubt. Described himself to Thomas Hauser, “In the gym, I get hit with way too many stupid punches but on the big stage, I rise to the occasion. My best punch is the hook to the body. I don’t have one-punch knockout power. I’m more of a volume puncher but I do have the power to hurt you. I’ve got good footwork and a good chin.” The term “hard-working, blue-collar guy” is perfectly suited to Rosinsky.


Kelly Pavlik – Troubled former champion enters every fight on the heels of the biggest battle of his life, reportedly sober and free of alcohol since November of last year. Pavlik’s emerging reputation as the next great middleweight was ruined when he was outpointed by the last great middleweight Bernard Hopkins, seemingly never recovering from the loss. Before that setback, Pavlik built himself up the hard way, twice besting Jermain Taylor and eliminating a solid lineup of prospects and contenders en route to the title. Pavlik’s most recent bloody loss, a gutsy defeat to Sergio Martinez, is forgivable given Martinez’s rise to pound-for-pound elite. At 6’2½”, he is a full-fledged super middleweight but I would not characterize Pavlik as big since he lacks bulk and his legs are skinnier than most kitchen tables. The 30-year-old has built on the basics developed in the amateurs, where Pavlik had an 89-9 record, winning three national competitions between 1998 and 1999. Uses a long and lean frame to jab and pick apart opponents with precise punches, then moves in to finish off softened up foes with powerful hooks and straight right hands. Pavlik takes his time to break down opponents, getting a feel for tendencies and range needed to score while continuing to lead instead of countering. Is not a bad counterpuncher when needed, doing well against speedier Taylor and Martinez but his footwork is suited to advancing toward foes. Probably a smarter fighter than given credit for, especially in the aftermath of the Hopkins loss. Does need forward momentum to get the most out of his lean frame, punching down and through opponents who are moving away from him. Looked frustrated and lethargic against Hopkins but his performance was overly maligned against Martinez, where he battled a bad cut as well. Pavlik has been hurt in fights but always from punches he did not see and otherwise has a sound chin. Sometimes carries his hands too high on defense, leaving room for shots under the elbow and blocking his sightline to looping blows. If allowed to maintain space and punching room, Pavlik dictates and overwhelms opponents without fail. Displays the offensive mindset of a finisher and when one of his punches breaks through, Pavlik rushes to finish the job. It is great to see Pavlik back but this fight will not tell us if training under Robert Garcia has markedly improved him. Are Pavlik’s high-profile losses because of Hall of Fame opposition or is he fading rapidly?

Verdict – I am still not sure what level Pavlik is currently at or if he can ever return to the quality of his championship days. I do not think Rosinsky is championship quality and even if he were the more skilled fighter, he would have a hard time overcoming Pavlik’s physical advantages. Pavlik has better feet and instincts, which will get him to the point of engagement ahead of Rosinsky allowing Pavlik to land first and repeatedly. Pavlik needs boxing more than Rosinsky and, frankly, is desperate to win as the full-time boxer Rosinsky is not. That singular focus has made Pavlik the better pro and will be revealed through muscle memory and quicker reaction times. Rosinsky has the aptitude and willingness to last the distance but is not speedy enough to win rounds or confuse Pavlik. This should go 10 rounds given Pavlik’s still developing communication with trainer Robert Garcia and the lack of sharpness shown against Scott Sigmon last month. I like Pavlik by a wide points decision.

Jeffrey Mathebula – Most thought South African stylist had the makings of a champion but a lack of activity (not fighting more than twice a year since 2005) has prevented Mathebula from becoming anything more than an average titleholder. Now age 33, Mathebula makes his American debut, entering with four split decisions in his last six fights, losing two. An excellent amateur (119-6 record) boxer, Mathebula turned pro after losing in the second round at the 2000 Olympics. Mathebula fought as a featherweight in the amateurs, going down in weight after turning pro despite an exceedingly tall 5’11” frame. Mathebula sports a fine and precise jab, standing tall and rarely bending to add power, preferring to move laterally, picking opponents apart with smart punching or well-timed combinations. Nickname of “Mongoose” is apt, favoring long range sniping of mistakes by lunging or touching off-balance opponents with accurate punches. At times, gets lazy and does not punch enough, allowing opponents to get leads on the cards with volume or forward-facing aggression. Can be a slow starter but comes on late in fights when his size and stamina tell the most against frustrated opponents. Mathebula can make a good argument that he has only been beaten once when he uncharacteristically got into a free-swinging brawl with Thomas Mashaba, losing by sixth round TKO. Many felt Mathebula beat Celestino Caballero (losing by split decision 116-112 on two cards) but the fight was in Caballero’s native Panama, which Mathebula thinks ultimately prepares him for tonight’s outing. Mathebula had two intense and closely disputed fights with Takalani Ndlovu; the pair parted with a split decision victory each but over the entirety of 24 rounds, Mathebula looked superior. Has veteran 30-year trainer Nick Durandt, who has guided most of South Africa’s best fighters into world title fights, in his corner. Mathebula explained his style and strategy for the Donaire fight to our own Gabriel Montoya, “Let him try to come and I will do my thing. Jab him, pick off his punches, counter, that’s it. The judges must watch it perfectly clear because it’s not all about aggression alone; it is about counterpunching. It is all about catching the guy on the right spot at the right time.” Mathebula has the size and skills to pull off an upset but at age 33 and lacking consistent activity, the question is whether he can at this point of his career.

Nonito Donaire – Despite Donaire’s knockout of Vic Darchinyan- one of the last decade’s best- I remained unsure about his legitimacy until Donaire’s destruction of Fernando Montiel last year. Given title defense victories over well-qualified Moruti Mthalane, Luis Maldonado and Raul Martinez, my skepticism flew in the face of reality. I have made a 180-degree reversal now, accepting Donaire as an elite fighter. At 29, Donaire is in his prime and has a wealth of amateur experience (he came to America at age 10, boxing almost immediately) to fall back upon if in a crisis. Trained by Robert Garcia, after a messy breakup with his father/trainer, Nonito Sr., Donaire has toyed and worked on tricks against solid foes like Hernan Marquez. Following that win, scored a frightfully easy kayo of former champion Volodymyr Sydorenko. Donaire’s offensive variety intimidates and causes hesitation in opponents, as was the case with underrated Omar Narvaez and Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. Donaire’s all-around boxing skills are multiplied by abundant hand speed, using a 5’5½” frame and long arms to reach every part of an opponent’s body. Moniker of “Filipino Flash” is justified, hiding thunderbolts of power behind a blindingly stiff jab. A Filipino (who competed for a spot on the American Olympic team, losing to Brian Viloria), Donaire is only second to legendary Manny Pacquiao in terms of fan appeal. Before becoming a champion, held his own sparring Zahir Raheem, Joel Casamayor and Pacquiao. At times, Donaire gives up too much of the ring to opponents but that might be done purposely to encourage foes to punch more? Donaire moves backward and sideways well, luring opponents into mistakes as they advance. This worked to perfection against Darchinyan, dropping the cocky Armenian with a left hook worthy of The Ring’s “Knockout of the Year” award. Kayos are what inspire Donaire, “I always want to look for a knockout. That is the best way to victory you can achieve in a fight. I don’t want to be cocky or sound cocky but that is the best motivation for a fight and what I keep in my head.” Wants to ramp up his activity, only fighting twice last year and three times in 2010, and given his exciting style, Donaire could still become this generation’s Michael Carbajal. Received some criticism for employing scandal-ridden steroid doctor Victor Conte as his dietician. Donaire is currently ranked at number four pound-for-pound by The Ring magazine and tonight will go a long way to either justifying or proving critics wrong about that high ranking.

Verdict – Donaire has had problems with movers in the past and Mathebula is mobile, so Donaire needs to cut off the ring or it will be a long night. Mathebula looks sloppy in stretches, his long arms sometimes looping gangly punches, but is good at judging distance and will negate Donaire’s speed advantage late after adjusting to their speed and trajectory. The early and middle rounds are what will win Donaire this fight, as Mathebula struggles to stop him, landing quicker and straighter punches. I can also envision Mathebula getting wary of Donaire’s head as they clash awkwardly in first three rounds. In the final analysis, I am favoring Donaire’s speed and superior reflexes over Mathebula’s size and patience. Mathebula will rally late and take three of the last four rounds, leaving fans with an impression that he did better than the judges’ scorecards reflect. Donaire’s textbook style and accuracy win the day in the end, somewhere in the region of eight rounds to five.

Prediction record for 2012: 83% (64-13)
Prediction record in 2011: 88% (138-19)
Prediction record in 2010: 85% (218-40)
 
You can contact Marty at mmulcahey@elpasotel.net, visit him at www.facebook.com/fivedogs or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MartinMulcahey.



NEW: Follow Doghouse Boxing on FaceBook!

For more Boxing News 24/7 and so much more... visit our homepage now!


© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing Inc. 1998-2012