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Donaire defeats Mathebula, looks terrible

Image: Donaire defeats Mathebula, looks terribleBy Chris Williams: WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KO’s) proved a couple of things tonight in defeating IBF super bantamweight champion Jeffrey Mathebula (26-4-2, 14 KO’s) by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision in their unification bout at the Home Depot Center, in Carson, California.

First, Donaire proved he can beat a well-scouted paper champion in Mathebula. Second, Donaire proved that he’s not in the same class as WBA World super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux. If there was ever any doubt about whether Rigondeaux is a better fighter than Donaire, it was proven tonight.

Rigondeaux would have blown Mathebula out in two or three rounds tops, yet it took Donaire 12 rounds to beat him. The judges scored it 117-110, 118-109 and 119-108 for Donaire, but the actual fight was a lot closer than those scores. Those scores were ridiculous.

Donaire looked like a limited fighter with only one weapon – his left hook. I knew that Donaire was dramatically limited as a fighter before this bout, but this fight proved it loud and clear by showing Donaire’s limitations.

If you were wondering why Top Rank decided to position Donaire against Mathebula instead of Rigondeaux and Abner Mares, it become completely clear as soon as the fight started. Mathebula had no power to speak, and was just a weak and awkward fighter with a good chin and a lot of heart. It’s pretty obvious why Top Rank put Donaire in with Mathebula rather than Rigondeaux. They saw a weak fighter and they went for the title. If you think this is the end of the soft fights you’re likely to be mistaken. I don’t see Top Rank putting their cash cow Donaire in with Rigondeaux or Mares next or anytime soon for that matter. Look for Donaire to fight Jorge Arce next, because he’s another old fighter that is beatable.

As far as the Mathebula-Donaire fight went, Donaire had the power advantage in a big way. Donaire put Mathebula down in the 4th round at the end of the round. Instead of staying patient, Donaire came out winging wild left hooks in the 5th, and ended up blowing his chance of knocking Mathebula out. Had he stayed patient and looked for a perfect shot, he’d have probably stopped the South African. From that point on it was a dog fight between the two of them with Mathebula landing a lot of shots. In the 11th, Donaire hurt Mathebula’s jaw with a hard shot, but Mathebula fought tough and made it the rest of the way.

All in all, Donaire looked utterly terrible and not even close to being in the same league as Rigondeaux or Mares. Donaire is a decent fighter for a limited guy, but I see him as being beneath Anselmo Moreno, Rigondeaux and Mares.

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