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HBO Boxing Preview: Donaire vs. Mathebula and Pavlik vs. Rosinsky

By: William Holmes

While many Filipino boxing fans consider Manny Pacquiao to be the greatest professional boxer to ever come out of the Philippines, a large majority of them overlook another great talent to come out of the nation of islands, and that’s Nonito Donaire.

Photo : Chris Farina/ Top Rank

On Saturday in Carson, California Donaire will be defending his junior featherweight title against Jeffrey Mathebula while Kelly Pavlik makes a quick return to the ring to battle Will Rosinsky.

A preview of both fights follows below.

Kelly Pavlik (39-2) vs. Will Rosinsky (14-1); Super Middleweight

Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik’s troubles with alcoholism have been well documented, and the former middleweight champion has been fighting hard to overcome his demons and return to a position of prominence in the super middleweight division.

Pavlik fought as a successful amateur in the welterweight division and turned pro in 2000. He found his greatest success as a middleweight when he became the WBC and WBO Middleweight champion when he defeated Jermain Taylor. He used his victory over Taylor to leverage himself into a PPV bout with Bernard Hopkins at a catch weight of 170lbs. He lost that bout, and later fought Sergio Martinez and lost his middleweight titles to him.

Pavlik is a technically gifted boxer but he does have knockout power as he has 33 KO/TKO’s on his record. He has won his last three fights in the super middleweight division since he lost his belt to Sergio Martinez. He beat both Scott Sigmon and Aaron Jaco by TKO, but they were both sub-par opponents. His only two losses were to Sergio Martinez and Bernard Hopkins.

Will Rosinsky will be Pavlik’s opponent on Saturday, and while he is not as tough as an opponent as Sergio Martinez or Bernard Hopkins, he certainly should not be considered an easy pushover. Rosinsky won the New York Golden Gloves four times. He turned pro in 2008 and has 8 wins by KO or TKO.

Pavlik will be by far Rosinsky’s toughest bout to date. He did defeat Aaron Pryor Jr. by decision last month in New York, but that was the only name opponent Rosinsky has defeated in his short career. He lost to Edwin Rodriguez by a clean ten round sweep in 2010.

Rosinsky is a good boxer, but is probably not quite ready for a fighter on the level of Kelly Pavlik. Look for Pavlik to use his experience to outlast Rosinsky, but don’t be surprised if Rosinsky makes a good fight out of it.

Nonito Donaire (28-1) vs. Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3-2); WBO & IBF Junior Featherweight Titles

Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire was born in the Philippines but has spent most of his life in the United States. He grew up in General Santos City, the hometown of Manny Pacquiao, but is not a southpaw and does not fight as aggressively as his Filipino counterpart.

Donaire has been boxing since he was a child, and won the National Silver Gloves in 1998, National Junior Olympics in 1999, and the International Junior Olympics in 1999. His amateur record was 68-8.

He originally signed with Jackie Kallen when he turned professional but did not stay with her long. Nonito started boxing as a flyweight and won his first legitimate title with a scintillating fifth round knockout over the heavily favored Vic Darchinyan in 2007. Since then he has gone up in weight and won titles in the Super Flyweight, Bantamweight, and Super Bantamweight divisions.

Donaire has incredibly quick hands and good movement. He can be hit however, and like Pacquiao, he does not have the greatest defense in the world. One of Donaire’s biggest problems is that there are not a lot of big names in the flyweight to the super bantamweight divisions, and he has yet to fight any of the top fighters in the super bantamweight division. He had a split decision victory over Wilfredo Vazquez in February of this year, and a highlight reel knockout over Fernando Montiel in 2011.

Jeffrey Mathebula might be a legitimate belt holder, but he is not the type of competition that will help cement Donaire’s legacy.

Mathebula is 33 years old and is on the downside of his prime. He competed in the 2000 Olympics for South Africa and had a very impressive amateur record of 101-4. He fought Celestino Caballero for the WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight titles in 2009 but lost by a split decision. He won the IBF junior featherweight title by avenging an earlier loss to Takalani Ndlovu in March of 2012.

A close examination of Mathebula’s record reveals no victories over big name opponents except for his most recent victory to win the IBF Junior Featherweight title. Mathebula will be outmatched and outclassed on Saturday, and it will be shocking to see him win or make the fight a close one.

Donaire should remain a champ after Saturday. If he wants to cement his legacy he’ll push for a bout with Rigondeaux or Abner Mares. However, all signs point to a possible fight with Mexican legend Jorge Arce.

Nonito Donaire vs. Jeffrey Mathebula, 12 rounds, WBO/IBF junior featherweight unification; Kelly Pavlik vs. Will Rosinsky, 10 rounds, super middleweights;

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