Pinoy pride: Donaire wins unification bout
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Nonito "Filipino Flash" Donaire Jr. unifies super bantamweight titles via unanimous decision over tough South African standout Jeffrey Mathebula on Saturday, July 7 (Sunday in Manila).
In a unanimous decision, the judges scored the fight 117-110, 118-109, and 119-108 in favor of Donaire who retains the World Boxing Organization (WBO) crown he won in February in a split decision over Puerto Rico's Wilfredo Vazquez and captured Mathebula's International Boxing Federation (IBF) belt.
Donaire, popularly referred to as "The Next Manny Pacquiao" and a "student of the sweet science" improved to 29-1 with 18 knockouts, winning his 28th straight fight in a streak dating back to 2001.
In Round 4 of the battle held at Home Depot Center in Carson City, California, Mathebula was "saved by the bell" after Donaire rattled him with a left hook. The South African dropped like a stone but stood up at the bell.
Donaire was the aggressor against his much taller opponent, but Mathebula stayed active, although he was cleary hurt by a blow to the jaw in the 11th (some say the South African cracked a tooth, not broke his jaw).
Mathebula fell to 26-4 with two drawn and 14 knockouts. He was making the first defense of the title he won in March in South Africa with a split-decision triumph over compatriot Takalani Ndlovu.
The bout was the first step in what Donaire hopes will be a unification march through the division.
"One more belt, and I'm good to go to 126," Donaire said in his interview after the fight.
For round-by-round account, view Rappler's LIVE BLOG here. - Rappler.com, with Agence France Presse