Nonito Donaire is looking to defend his WBO super bantam belt and take Jeffrey Mathebula’s IBF belt, at the Home Depot Centre this Saturday night.
Donaire has looked very impressive in his movements through the weights from flyweight, super flyweight, bantam and super bantam, winning titles in all four divisions, notably making himself only the second Asian to win titles in four divisions, the first being Manny Pacquiao.
An accomplished amateur before turning over to the pro rankings, whilst picking up titles at flyweight such as the WBO Asia Pacific title and the NABF super flyweight title, Donaire didn’t explode onto the scene until July 2007, when, as a 7-1 underdog, he walked the then undefeated Vic Darchinyan onto a perfect counter left hook and took him out.
With this shocking victory, Donaire earned Ring Magazine’s Knockout of the Year and Upset of the Year awards along with the IBF flyweight belt.
Since then, Donaire has gone from strength to strength and seems to be holding the weight well as he has grown into what Top Rank Management will, no doubt, soon herald as the new Pac Man.
At 28-1-0 with 18 KO’s, he has sailed through some quality opposition along the way such as Hernan Marquez, Fernando Montiel, Omar Narvaez, and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.
Donaire is a great boxing technician, a powerful, fast counter puncher who can switch hit; in the ring he looks every bit the star. His knockout of Montiel earned Donaire another Knockout of the Year award, again with the counter left hook.
That left hook of Donaire’s is a formidable weapon; generally if he connects with it he really shakes things up. He can load up on it so quickly and is also a good finisher.
He has all the right tools and generally comes in with a good engine to go the distance as he sometimes does. Tough is another attribute you can list to Donaire, as happy and smiley as he may be in and out of the ring, he is a fighter's fighter through and through.
Defensively, his movement generally gets him out of trouble, but he’s shown before that he has no problem in taking a shot to open opponents up for the deadly counter or barrage that may follow.
In Mathebula, Donaire finds an opponent who is taller, has a reach advantage and is naturally the bigger man as he has fought for featherweight titles, but is four years older and has not had the experience that Donaire has.
There are some talented names on Mathebula's resume, such as Takalani Ndlovu and Celestino Caballero, the former he went 1-1 against, the latter he lost to on a split decision.
His record stands at 26-3-2 with 14 KO’s; he is tough but has been stopped before, although back in 2003.
If Donaire can be his consummate self, pop in and out whilst delivering fast heavy blows, Mathebula will be left dumbfounded. He won’t be able to outbox Donaire and so will probably come in looking to pressure him, where he will get caught with counters.
If Donaire can hurt Mathebula, then there could very well be a stoppage on the cards, otherwise expect Donaire to outbox and outwork his opponent on the way to a comfortable points victory and hopefully better opponents…
Did someone say Jorge Arce? No? Toshiaki Nishioka? Maybe even a jump up to Featherweight…Gamboa?