Could Mathebula Pull A Josesito on Donaire?

Donaire workout 120625 003aIf Donaire gets past the South African, who do you want him to fight next? Rigo? (Chris Farina-Top Rank photo)

Jeffrey Mathebula should be thanking Josesito Lopez right about now. Check that…maybe he should be cursing him. Every now and again, you need one of those stunner upset fights, like the one we saw on Saturday night, when solid but still a massive underdog in the minds of most Josesito Lopez stopped Victor Ortiz, and screwed up the plans for a PPV anointment party for Canelo Alvarez, who was due to meet Ortiz, if he exited the victor against Lopez.

But he didn't…because sometimes it goes that way.

Sometimes, besides the best laid plans of the dealmakers and kingmakers who plot out their chess moves with consummate precision and maximum plotting go awry. And we love it, because we love it when the massive underdog, the guy who wasn't supposed to win, the one who represents all of us–the Have Nots–flips the script, that boring-ass script and the tired stack of sequels, and reminds us that sometimes, the little guy prevails.

So, like I said, maybe Jeffrey Mathebula should thank Josesito Lopez, for giving him a little nudge, a little pick me up, a reminder that even though he is the IBF 122 pound champion, and holds a 26-3-2 record, no one outside of South Africa, or the cadre of true hardcore fight fans and fans of the featherweights, knows who he is, that he is capable of downing Nonito Donaire. Donaire is the massive favorite, the one with the showier record, 28-1, the one for whom big plans are being plotted, a good six months, or year in advance. Donaire is the Victor Ortiz in this instance.

Or, conversely, maybe Mathebula should silently curse Josesito. Because just in case the Filipino born Donaire was looking with one eye over the shoulder of Mathebula, towards a showdown with Jorge Arce, or maybe Guillermo Rigondeaux, instead of the gig on July 7, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA (and on HBO, paired with a Kelly Pavlik-Will Rosinsky showdown), maybe he took note of the Lopez upset. Maybe, if he was tempted to run only five miles instead of six in this camp, he instead ran seven, because he realized that it was quite possible Mathebula is looking to play the Josesito role on July 7.

Donaire, the WBO junior featherweight champ, certainly sounded on message, like he has his head screwed on straight, during a Tuesday conference call to hype the bout. “The motivation is in my heart to work toward my goals and my dreams,” said the California-based boxer, who won a decision over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in February in his last outing, his first at 122. “To be a unified champion then challenge anyone out there and make it undisputed is a dream and hopefully I can make it happen. Like Bob (Arum) said, there are incredible fighters in this weight class and we are going to take them.And I am going to keep all the belts. Mathebula is the IBF guy and he is an incredible fighter and we can’t look past him. Mathebula is a very tough fighter. He is a tall guy, the tallest fighter I will have faced and I know Cameron (Dunkin, manager) is nervous about it. But he’s always nervous. He’s always looking out for his fighters, that’s how he is. But I told Cameron I wanted this fight. I knew this guy would motivate me and he made me train as hard as I did. I don’t know what to expect because he is so tall.”

Readers, there is precious little footage of Mathebula out there. Donaire said he expects him to use his height, his range, and Arum expects his Zulu blood to show up, for him to bring the fight to Donaire, and not look to pull a Narvaez or Vazquez, and survive. What say you? Could Mathebula pull a Josesito?

SPEEDBAG This call featured some fairly fascinating chess-playing and showing of the cards by promoter Bob Arum. To point: “First of you have to understand that HBO, the premier network, and to its credit, has embraced this decision. You couple that with the technological advances that HBO is making – measuring the impact of punches, which will start at the beginning of next year. Mares is a very good fighter but he has to be willing to fight on the premier network, which is HBO, and not on the secondary network, which is Showtime. It’s not a question of Top Rank or Golden Boy but it’s the fact that HBO has embraced Nonito and this entire division and that’s where the future is.” And then: “Mares is there but has got to cut the apron strings and be willing to fight in this whole series of important fights on the premier network, which is HBO, which understands how important this whole division is.”

Hmm. It is really setting up that HBO is the Top Rank network and Showtime is the Golden Boy network. Is that good, or bad, for the fans? Will be interesting to see how this plays out. I am hoping it will be for the best, for the fans, as always.

Comment on this article


-deepwater :

Mathebula should be thanking Josesito Lopez right about now. Check that...maybe he should be cursing him." ? What in the world is this statement supposed to mean? It looks like some of that faulty unicorn and tooth-fairy nonsense logic yet again. mathebula better be thinking of a counter to donaires straight left of how to throw the check hook when he charges in. This fighter has a damn killer in front of him and you actually think he has time to think and wish about ortiz vs lopez??? give me a break. every fighter has his own fight to worry about and not some silly nonsense of "oh I hope I can win because look what happened with other fighters in another fight" . the reality is every guy has a chance in there when crooked bob arum isnt paying people off. do a story on corruption and ron lipton if you got the balls or dont if you just like to kiss industry asses.


Seriously, I'm about to puke. Just sick and tired of Bob's antics (and for the record, Oscar's insidiously gaining on him). I despise, yet secretly admire, how Bob Arum gets away with distancing himself as a selfish a-hole by now saying future fights won't happen if GBP fighters won't fight on HBO. WTF!? Does Bob own HBO now? I mention "secretly admire" above because he has some big freakin' huevos. I wish I were in a position to tell another network to "lick my arse, I'm a Showtime Promoter!" But in the end, the network shouldn't even matter. Both GPB and TR are out of touch with fans, or maybe, they are both well aware, as fans we're just not collectively smart or brave enough to "Occupy Boxing."

-Radam G :

I'm down with deepwater on everything except that the old Jew BobFather is a Judas. Hehehehe! NOPE! Da BobFather is aight! And he is playin' and payin' da game and da pugilists straight. Holla!

-TotoyBato :

It's starting to be like MMA, fighters are bound to fight within the promotional outfit.

-deepwater :

arum is a damn crook but his jewishness or lack of has nothing to do with it. want to know how deep the crony corruption goes? google ron lipton and see what he has said about it.( also i personaly like the late mercante and wished him a good after-life on his death bed but his son has got to go) one of my trainers was the late great al gavin and if you think I didnt learn any of the inside politics you must be crazy. wish this site would let some of the truth outta the bag but i have a feeling they are kissing insiders arse to try and get ahead in the boxing fraternity.

-TotoyBato :

Donaire will do a boxing clinic on Mathebula.

-SouthPaul :

Deepwater Good lookin' out with name dropping Ron Lipton. Just read a very detailed article/interview with him from Doghouseboxing. It's from 2004 but very interesting!

-brownsugar :

I don't know a single thing about Mathebula except he's tall and is supposed to have a good jab...... time to hit Youtube.

-brownsugar :

From what I've seen, the light punching amateur stylist Mathebula should not pose much of a threat to Donaire. Only if his movent is a problem for Donnaire and he's able to peck his way to victory. which is very unlikely. This one is a Showcase fight.

-gibola :

From what I've seem Mathbula has no chance and this is a mismatch. The best thing Josesito did with his brave effort was save us from the mismatch that would have been Canelo v Ortiz. TR, Golden Boy, HBO, Showtime - Let's get back to competitive fights please.

-undisputed34 :

I agree, gibola...I still think it would have been action packed but canelo is too disciplined for Ortiz..