Opinion: Mathebula has nothing on Donaire
SINGAPORE – On Saturday, July 7 (July 8 in the Philippines), Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire (28-1, 18 KO) puts his WBO and IBF Super Bantamweight straps on the line against Jeffrey “Marvelous Mongoose” Mathebula (26-3-2, 14 KO).
The fight is yet another tune-up type of fight for Donaire, and a clever matchup by promotor Bob Arum as little-known Mathebula poses absolutely no threat to the Filipino.
Aside from a height and reach advantage, Mathebula really has nothing going for him skills-wise and this fight seems to be a perfect stage to showcase Donaire’s skills.
If you’re wondering who Jeffrey Mathebula is, you’re not alone.
There is virtually no information out on the fighter from Limpopo, South Africa. His resume is hardly impressive either with the only meaningful fight he’s had was against Celestino Caballero a few years ago – a fight which he lost by split decision.
Walk in the park
Mathebula is far from the type of fighter we want to see Donaire in the ring with at this stage in his career but it’s been hard for the Filipino Flash to land any meaningful challenges as fighters in and around his division seem hell-bent on avoiding him at all costs.
For Donaire, this title defense should be a walk in the park.
Donaire’s skillset is off the charts. He’s ambidextrous, not only having power in both hands but can fight in either the southpaw or orthodox stance. This particular versatility is what poses problems for his opponents.
He can hit you with a full array of punches from unseen angles, and he throws combinations with such pinpoint accuracy and timing that it’s difficult to avoid.
Yet perhaps Donaire’s greatest asset is his speed and ring IQ. Donaire understands the science of the sport and is a patient, calculating fighter inside the ring. He likes to size up foes and time them perfectly with his vaunted left hook.
Speaking of Donaire’s left hook, it’s certainly a thing of beauty. Still fresh in the minds of fans the world over are Donaire’s resounding knockout victories over Vic Darchinyan and Fernando Montiel.
Donaire obliterated the ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘KO Chulito’ with the same, picture-perfect, textbook left hook. Who can forget the way Darchinyan tried mightily to stand after getting decked but ultimately fumbling back to the canvass? Or the way Montiel’s skull nearly cracked from the impact of Donaire’s moneymaker?
The reason it’s so destructive is because Donaire throws that left hook with such technique and accuracy. He unloads it with all the power in his torso and twists it with such force that sparring partners claim he hits as hard as a Middleweight.
Not only that, but Donaire times the left perfectly as well, always hitting the mark as opponents are coming into the contact zone.
If you want to see an exciting fight, this is the one to see – even if it will turn out to be completely one-sided.
Donaire owns the advantage in virtually every category sans height and reach. He’s faster, stronger, slicker and smarter than Jeffrey Mathebula. It’s going to be a total annihilation – a massacre. It won’t even be close.
Mathebula will offer no resistance whatsoever to Donaire’s awesome blend of speed and power. His limited skills play perfectly into Donaire’s strengths. Mathebula is a volume puncher with no KO potential. He doesn’t even use his height and reach advantages the right way, has no jab and more often than not throws punches with his hands down and his chin exposed.
On top of that, he’s slow and flat-footed. Donaire will pick him apart until he breaks.
The only way this fight reaches the scorecards is if Mathebula gets on his bicycle and starts to run from the Filipino – which has turned into a trend for Donaire’s recent opponents.
Donaire has to make a statement in this fight and score the knockout. Battles against Jorge “El Travieso” Arce and Guillermo Rigondeaux lie in wait.
It will be fun for however long it lasts. Mathebula’s going to get chin checked and it won’t be pretty – and you can take that to the bank.
Prediction? Donaire by TKO 5.
What are your thoughts fight fans? Hit me up in the comments section. - Rappler.com
Carlos Cinco is Rappler's boxing analyst. Read his boxing stories at www.fightcardboxing.net and follow him on Twitter: @CarlosCincoFCB. All opinions expressed in this article are his own.
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