WBO Super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire beat Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa by unanimous decision at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California on July 7 to take his IBF title from him. It was Donaire’s 28th straight win and it lifted his record to 29-1 with 18 KOs. Mathebula saw his record fall to 26-4-2 with 14 KOs.
The 29-year-old Donaire, who was born in the Philippines and has won belts in four different weight divisions, landed the harder shots throughout the fight and was the aggressor even though the 33-year-old Mathebula was credited with landing more total punches.
Donaire dropped the South African boxer with a tremendous left hook to the head in the fourth round, but the former champion rose to his feet and battled back with a lot of heart for the rest of the contest. Mathebula, used his height and reach advantage to land numerous jabs and kept the fight competitive till the very end.
Donaire always seemed to be in control of the fight even though Mathebula’s work rate was often hard to keep up to. He ended up winning by the generous scores of 117-110, 119-108, and 118-109. Donaire gave Mathebula a lot of credit after the bout and said he had an excellent jab which kept him out of his power range. He added that his opponent was a great champion and his constant activity made it hard for him to get inside.
It was the first time Mathebula had fought outside of South Africa and it was also the first defence of the IBF title which he won in March by beating Takalani Ndlovu by a split decision. The scoring seemed a bit lopsided especially since Mathebula landed 231 punches to Donaire’s 151 and he threw 919 to Donaire’s 515. Donaire said he’d like to win another belt in the 122 lb. division before moving up in weight to 126 lbs.
On the undercard, American super middleweight and former world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik of Youngstown, Ohio won a 10-round unanimous decision over Will Rosinsky of New York. Rosinsky had an excellent first round, but Pavlik slowly took over from there and dropped his opponent momentarily in the second round with a short right to the head. The scores were 97-92, 98-91, and 98-91.
It was Pavlik’s fourth consecutive win since losing his middleweight titles to Argentina’s Sergio Martinez in April 2010 and taking a year off to battle personal and alcohol problems. Pavlik was steady, but not spectacular during the hard-fought bout. He raised his record to 40-2 with 34 KOs. Rosinsky’s record dropped to 16-2 with 9 KOs.
It was the 30-year-old Pavlik’s second bout in the last four weeks and Rosinsky’s second in the past three weeks. The former champion suffered a cut over his left eye early in the bout, but it didn’t affect his vision. After the bout he said Rosinsky was a solid boxer who was very busy in the ring. He said he gave him 10 tough rounds and he’s now looking to fight a higher level opponent in the autumn such as Lucien Bute, Mikkel Kessler, Andre Ward, or Carl Froch.
However, Pavlik admitted that he’ll have to perform a lot better if he hopes to beat any of those boxers.