Donaire getting $750,000 for Mathebula showdownBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LOS ANGELES—Nonito Donaire Jr. will bank a guaranteed $750,000 for fighting South African IBF champion Jeffrey Mathebula on Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila).
Donaire’s manager Cameron Dunkin disclosed this Thursday after the “Filipino Flash” motored to Carson to meet with city officials and receive tokens for bringing the world super bantamweight unification title fight to the city, which boasts a large Filipino community.
Donaire, the WBO titlist, is getting about the same paycheck he received when he fought Omar Narvaez in New York last year and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., in Texas last February. Dunkin said this bout is a “watershed” as Donaire is expected to figure in bigger bouts from here on.
“This sets him up for big fights and it’s going to be big fights on HBO,” added Dunkin, who is hoping his ward will finally get into the financially lucrative pay-per-view realm.
“I talked to Todd Leboeff (Top Rank president) about (the PPV), and he feels better with it on HBO.”
But Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said he can’t promise a PPV until next year, although he assured Donaire of two more big fights if he wins on Saturday.
“It’s going to be on HBO,” said Arum. “We are not ready for pay-per-view until next year. If he’s successful, he fights twice more this year.”
Donaire visited Carson City Hall and presented his WBO belt to Carson Councilman Elito Santarina, who like him is also Filipino-American. Later Santarina and Mayor Jim Dear handed him and Arum certificates of recognition.
Dear said 26 percent of Carson’s population is Asian, the majority of them Filipinos. Santarina said they will hold a prayer vigil for Donaire on fight night.
“I’m honored and very proud to be Filipino. I will not let you down on Saturday,” said Donaire, who shared his humble beginnings growing up in Gen. Santos City before migrating to San Leandro, California.
“You can look up pictures of me as a kid with holes on my shorts,” Donaire said. “I came here not knowing a single word in English. I picked up the sport of boxing. I used to fight for $60.”
Donaire also thanked Manny Pacquiao for “opening doors for Filipino boxers,” saying he’s honored to be mentioned in the same sentence with “somebody who is an all-time great.”
In a trendy suit and hat, Donaire later went to a nearby shopping center parking lot accompanied by a large entourage including wife Rachel and had a brief chat with fans.
Rachel said her husband weighed 124 lb Wednesday night but still had a heavy dinner. He is expected to easily make the 122 lb limit in today’s official weigh-in slated at a function room of Marriott Manhattan Beach.
Fans complained that tickets have been sold out in the open-air 8,000-seater tennis stadium.
Donaire will have San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore to carry his belt to the ring Satuday night.