Nonito Donaire Seeks Unification, Pavlik Hunts Super Middleweights
Nonito makes a guest appearance on "ESPN Nacion" with hosts Bernardo Osuna and Adriana Monsalve in Los Angeles for his upcoming world title unification fight against IBF champion Jeffery "Marvelous" Mathebula. He was 121.8 while Mathebula was 121.4 on the scale Friday. (Chris Farina-Top Rank)
Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire learns if he’s hit the ceiling when he meets fellow junior featherweight world titleholder Jeffrey Mathebula, Kelly Pavlik tests the heavier waters too.
WBO titleholder Donaire (28-1, 18 KOs) faces IBF titleholder Mathebula (26-3-2, 14 KOs) and Pavlik (39-2, 34 KOs) fights New York tough super middleweight Will Rosinsky (16-1, 9 KOs) on Saturday July 7 at Home Depot Center. HBO will televise.
So far Donaire’s extraordinary athleticism has allowed him to pillage the weight divisions from flyweight to bantamweight. But when he encountered Puerto Rico’s stubborn Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. for the title Donaire now holds, it was anything but a two-step.
Vazquez couldn’t match Donaire’s speed or power, but he could match the size, arm length and boxing skills. A 12-round contest saw Donaire out score Vazquez and win a close split decision. A ninth round knockdown was all that the southpaw speedster could muster in a fight that Donaire won rather easily on the score cards, but not the steamrolling variety he enjoyed in the lower weight divisions.
Mathebula is tall, strong and fast.
“I’m very excited. He’s a taller guy,” said Donaire of his next foe Mathebula. “I wanted this fight. I wanted someone to motivate me and keep me going, to keep that desire. I don’t know what to expect out there.”
IBF champion Mathebula has only fought once outside of South Africa and that resulted in a loss to Celestino Caballero in Panama. It was a split decision. The fighter known as “the Mongoose” will be making his first defense of the title he captured from fellow South African Takalani Ndlovu in March of this year.
Donaire, 29, has big plans to grab all of the junior featherweight world titles and this is the first step.
“It’s a motivation. I’m moving toward my goal and my dream to be a unified champion then challenge anyone out there and become undisputed champion,” Donaire says. “You got to be patient...you can’t look past Mathebula.”
Top Rank’s Bob Arum said this is the first step to bring all of the reigning 122-pound world champions together for an informal world-wide tournament.
“Those who follow boxing know how chock full of great fighters the super bantamweight division is. We have an endless list of guys who will be making tremendous fights with each other. HBO has recognized this,” said Arum during a conference call. Among those Arum mentioned were Guillermo Rigondeaux and Abner Mares.
Another making a transition into a heavier weight division is “The Ghost” Pavlik who just recently fought in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.
The Youngstown, Ohio prizefighter who terrorized the 160-pound middleweight division is now fighting as a super middleweight. The 168-pound super middleweights are a sturdier sort and don’t go down as easily. Though he eventually stopped Scott Sigmon to win by technical knockout, Pavlik never could knock him down. The fight was stopped because of the overall punishment the Ohioan was doling out.
Still, Pavlik dominated a fight that could have resulted in serious injury to Sigmon who absorbed a tremendous amount of punishment. Despite the offensive firepower unloaded by Pavlik, very few punches landed on his own face. Plus, his hands were surprisingly not injured from banging Sigmon’s noggin all seven rounds.
“There was no hesitation. It’s an opportunity I can’t pass up. I’m still in great shape,” said Pavlik about accepting another fight less than a month after fighting in Las Vegas.
Rosinsky, 27, is a stout power punching stud from Ozone Park, New York, who recently defeated the taller and quicker Aaron Pryor Jr. by unanimous decision. That’s not a bad win.
Pavlik does not expect a cream puff.
“This kid is a very game fighter. He’s in good shape,” said Pavlik about Rosinsky. “I’ve been watching a little bit of film on him. He’s a game fighter. He’s in good shape and he likes to mix it up.”
On Saturday both Donaire and Pavlik will discover if the move up in weight will be a catapult or an anchor.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Javier Fortuna (19-0) vs. Cristobal Cruz (39-13-3).
Sat. pay-per-view, 7 p.m., Anderson Silva (29-4) vs. Chael Sonnen (28-11-1); Tito Ortiz (17-10-1) vs. Forrest Griffin (18-7); Cung Le (7-2) vs. Patrick Cote (18-7).
Sat. Televisa, 8 p.m., Hugo Ruiz (30-1) vs. Jean Sampson (12-1).
Sat. HBO, 10 p.m., Nonito Donaire (28-1) vs. Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3-2).