Donaire says South African foe an awkward fighter

Posted at 07/04/2012 10:22 PM

‘Mathebula similar to Hearns’


MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Nonito Donaire Jr. is expecting a tough, awkward fight against South Africa’s Jeffrey Mathebula this weekend.

Donaire will attempt to unify his World Boxing Organization 122-pound title with Mathebula’s International Boxing Federation strap when they square off at the Home Depot in Carson City, California.

“Mathebula is tall and awkward, so I know it’s going to be a difficult fight but we prepared Nonito well with our sparring,” said boxing trainer Robert Garcia in RingTV.

The towering South African enjoys a three-inch height advantage against the 5-foot-7 Donaire.

Garcia said Donaire finds it easier to land counter punches against taller opponents, but the “Filipino Flash” still believes he has a difficult task at hand.

“He’s definitely tall, and he used his jab really well, kind of like Thomas Hearns did at welterweight. I’m really, really excited knowing I’ll be in with a taller fighter and one who is good,” said Donaire.

He added that some fight fans are counting Mathebula out because the South African is relatively unknown.

“The fans who count Mathebula out and say that he isn’t as good as [Guillermo] Rigondeaux or [Abner] Mares say that because they don’t know who he is,” said Donaire.

“When I fought Darchinyan, nobody knew who I was. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t a threat.”

The Donaire-Mathebula fight card will be aired on ABS-CBN Channel 2 on Sunday starting 10 a.m.