MANILA, Philippines – “The Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire Jr. wanted a tougher challenge, which is why he chose a 122-pound title unification match against Jeffrey Mathebula.
"It's a fight that Nonito asked for," Donaire’s manager Cameron Dunkin said in ESPN.
"Nonito thought this guy (Mathebula) was a great fighter and would push him to the limit. Nonito said, 'I want something that will fire me up and this guy presents me with a challenge.' "
Donaire recently won the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight crown and wants to unify the belt with Mathebula’s International Boxing Federation (IBF) title.
But it won’t be any easy bout for the speedy Filipino-American, who will give away a 3-inch height advantage to Mathebula.
Donaire stands 5'7", while the South African champion is 5'10".
"Nonito is usually the taller guy. He won't be for this fight, so I asked him if he wanted that problem," Dunkin said.
"He said he did. He said, 'I want somebody that will really motivate me.' I said, 'OK.' I think this will motivate him but it's a dangerous fight, a scary fight. But it's what he wanted. He specifically asked for it."
The unification bout is scheduled to take place on July 7 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
It will be the main event of HBO’s "Boxing After Dark", according to Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti.
"Any time you can unify a title, it's a good thing," Moretti said. "And any time you can unify the title in a meaningful division, which junior featherweight is, it's an even better thing.”
“It's a legit fight. Mathebula is a little awkward and he's taller than Donaire. Matheubula is always in shape and has no reservations about coming to the United States for the fight."