By Jake Donovan
It’s been eighteen months since his first fight with Takalani Ndlovu, but Jeffrey Mathebula refuses to move on.
The countrymen collided in a title elimination bout in Sept. ’10. Ndlovu won by split decision, followed by his title-winning effort in his very night fight, a decision win in his third try against Steve Molitor.
None of it sits well with Mathebula, who believes he should’ve been the one facing Molitor last year and not having to challenge his old rival for the title on March 24. The loss was particularly painful to swallow, as it came just two fights after coming within inches of wresting the crown from Celestino Caballero in their April ’09 clash in the champion’s native Panama.
“Man, I was robbed in Panama,” Mathebula (25-3-2, 14KO) insists to this very day. “I was robbed in my own country when I fought Takalani the first time and we had South African judges!”
It’s safe to say that forgiveness isn’t a strong suit for Mathebula, who hopes to make the most of a second shot at Ndlovu (33-6, 18KO) when they once again collide at Carnival City Casino in Gauteng, South Africa.
The popular tourist attraction was the site of their first bout. Ndlovu has won two more since then, including last year’s upset win over Molitor.His most recent came on the road, outpointing Giovanni Caro in Mexico last October for the first successful defense of his 122 lb. belt and his third straight victory.
Mathebula has won two straight heading into the bout. The fight that put him in position to challenge for the title saw the 32-year old finally land on the favorable end of a tightly-scored contest, barely outpointing Oscar Chauke in the very same Carnival City venue last June.
Still, it’s hardly enough to provide any kind of confidence that the ringside judges will be on his side this time around.
“I have to stop him this time, to make sure I don’t get robbed again,” believes Mathebula.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]