Nonito Donaire Defeats Mathebula to Unify WBO & IBF Super Bantamweight Titles
By Gabriel Montoya, MaxBoxing (July 8, 2012) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
Nonito Donaire va Jeffrey Mathebula
Before an announced crowd of 3200 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire beat South Africa’s Jeffrey Mathebula by scores of 117-110 118-109 and 119-108 to unify the IBF and WBO super bantamweight titles. The fight drew mixed reactions from the crowd both live and at home but in the end, Donaire took home another title, another win and set himself up for big name fights down the line in a heating up super bantamweight division.

Donaire came out aggressive in the first, ducking and slipping and shooting shots to the dome of Mathebula. The South African IBF champ looked a little awkward and unsteady as he reached with punches and stumbled a couple times.

Donaire seemed sharp and ready as the crowd chanted his name. He caught Mathebula with a shot and the fellow champ stumbled. The speed edge of Donaire was readily apparent. Mathebula landed a hard right but it had no effect. Donaire's shots sounded harder and landed more flush. Mathebula was finding his feet by round’s end. Barely.

In the second Donaire used the jab to get in position. Mathebula definitely had his feet under him by then but he kept backing up to get room to use his long jab. Nonito wouldn't let him for the most part, jabbing and shooting punches from either side.

However, Mathebula warmed into the fight, getting in some left hooks downstairs and using his jab in multiples which kept Donaire on the outside.

By the third, Donaire had gone into single shot mode, playing to the crowd using his hands down head movement while Mathebula waited too long to get going late in the round.

Donaire is going into single shot mode, paying to the crowd too much with the hands down defense. Mathebula did not take full advantage, however.

In the fourth, Donaire exploded on Mathebula early on. But again, his offense was not consistent. Mathebula had some nice moments letting his jab go but there was no snap to his shots unlike Donaire when he chose to use a hook or uppercut. Late in the round, Donaire unloaded a brutal left hook that floored Mathebula who appeared badly hurt. He rose late in the count and walked unsteadily to his corner.

Donaire, wearing gold with black trim as a tribute to Bruce Lee in Game of Death and Jeet Kune Do master Daniel Inosanto at ringside, was a little like the master on this night; Fluid, ever changing and quick to detonate when the opening showed itself. His plan to attack the body didn’t work so he had to change things up with his awkward foe. Her tried creative punching, odd movement and feints to draw his opponent out and at times it worked. At others, it left little action for the audience to enjoy.

By the middle of the fight, Donaire was in total control. He’d feint and Mathebula would jump. Against his tallest foe and a fellow titleholder, he demonstrated creativity and a passion for combat he hadn't quite shown in his last two fights. Mathebula showed toughness and resolve. However, he appeared out of his game plan.

The audience waned as the fight progressed. Donaire did have a big eleventh round and never stopped trying to land the fight ending shot. With the win, Donaire now looks to unify the division with fights with Toshiaki Nishioka and Abner Mares.

In the co-feature, former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik continued his super middleweight campaign with a solid effort against Will Rosinsky. Pavlik was economical and relentless, fighting through a cut on his left eye that was 2 1/2 “ long and bleeding bad from the fourth round on after Rosinsky’s glove heel caught him wrong and opened him up.

The fight went all ten rounds with both men having their moments but Pavlik landing the harder shots and displaying a much more consistent and effective offense.

Pavlik  said afterward that he would like a big name fight in the fall against any top super middleweight .

You can email Gabriel at, follow him on Twitter at and catch him on each Monday’s episode of “The Next Round” with Steve Kim. You can also tune in to hear him and co-host David Duenez live on the BlogTalk radio show, Thursdays at 5-8 PM PST. Gabriel is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

* Special Thanks To MaxBoxing.

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