Donaire all set for title fightBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LOS ANGELES—Nonito Donaire Jr. plunged into another workout by the palm tree-lined park of Manhattan Beach Monday afternoon, less than a day after wrapping up what he termed as his “toughest training camp ever.”
He flashed his lean, toned body—not “monstrous” as his nutritionist Victor Conte described, but noticeably bulkier than before—as he hit mitts and shadow-boxed at the yard of the Marriott, where he will stay before his world super bantamweight title unification fight against South African Jeffrey Mathebula on Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila).
“He is a tough opponent, he’s tall and he’s got the belt,” said Donaire, who wrapped up his training camp under Robert Garcia in San Mateo, some 500 kilometers from here.
Garcia said they expect Mathebula to fire on all cylinders in the hopes of replicating the same surprise Josesito Lopez pulled off over highly favored Victor Ortiz.
Lopez, a replacement opponent, broke the former junior welterweight’s jaw and forced him to surrender after nine rounds at Staples Center here.
But without giving away their strategy for the fight, Garcia said they have equipped Donaire with enough weapons to shield him from disaster.
Donaire, the WBO champ with a record of 28-1-0 with 18 knockouts, said he has been putting on muscles even before his eight-week camp. Hoping to summon the support of the large Filipino community here, he is set to have a fans’ day on Thursday at the Carson City hall.
“There’s a lot of Filipinos here and I hope to give them a show they will appreciate,” said Donaire. Tickets have reportedly been selling like hotcakes at $100, $50 and $25.
Donaire and his family migrated to San Leandro, some 600 km from Home Depot Center here where the fight will be held. The bout is the co-mainer of a card that also features former champion Kelly Pavlik of Ohio and Will Rosinski of New York.
Mathebula, the IBF champion who at 5-foot-10 will be the Filipino Flash’s tallest and biggest opponent to date, is expected to hit town and meet the media Tuesday in the open workout at Fortune Gym on Sunset Boulevard.
At 26-1-3 with 14 KOs, Mathebula remains the underdog in the fight, having lost two of his last six fights. Dubbed as the Marvelous Mongoose, Mathebula is also marking his first fight in the United States and second outside his country.
Mathebula is an Olympian and is a good friend of Moruti Mthalane, whom Donaire felled in the sixth round of their IBO/IBF flyweight title fight in 2008 in Mandalay Bay.