By Jake Donovan, photos by Chris Farina/Top Rank
Nonito Donaire and Jeffrey Mathebula both successfully made weight for their HBO-televised super bantamweight unification bout, which takes place Saturday evening at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.
Donaire weighed in at 121.4 lb, while Mathebula was slightly heavier at 121.8 lb.
Both fighters are making the first defense of their respective belts. Donaire won his title with a 12-round split decision over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in their vacant title fight this past February. Mathebula acquired his belt one month later, avenging a Sept. '10 defeat to Takalani Ndlovu with a split decision win in their rematch in match.
Donaire (28-1, 18KO) makes his fourth straight appearance on HBO, as the pound-for-pound entrant is being groomed for a series of big fights in the loaded 122 lb. division. The Fil-Am star made a splash with a two-round knockout of Fernando Montiel to claim the bantamweight crown last February, but has been extended the distance in each of his two ring appearances since that explosive night.
Mathebula (26-3-2, 14KO) fights both on HBO and in the United States for the first time in his career. The 33-year old native has only fought outside of his native South Africa just once, coming up short in a title bid against then-unified champion Celestino Caballero on the road in Panama.
In the televised co-feature, Kelly Pavlik takes on Will Rosinsky in a 10-round super middleweight bout.
Both fighters weighed in at 168.2 lb.
Pavik (39-2, 34KO) returns to HBO for the first time since losing his lineal middleweight championship to Sergio Martinez in April ’10. Plenty has happened in that span – stays in rehab for alcohol abuse, run-ins with the law, burning bridges, rebuilding relationships and finally, the comeback tour.
Saturday’s co-feature bout will mark Pavlik’s third with trainer Robert Garcia since leaving his Youngstown (OH) home at the end of last year. After fighting just once in the span of 23 months, Pavlik is fighting for the third time in just over three months. This latest appearance comes just 29 days after his ESPN2-televised stoppage win over Scott Sigmon.
Rosinsky (16-1, 9KO) has experienced even less downtime between fights. The Queens (NY)-based fireman/fighter enters the fight on the heels of an 8-round points win over Aaron Pryor on June 14. He has won two straight since suffering the lone loss of his career, which came last October. Rosinsky gave Edwin Rodriguez the fight of his life last October on Showtime, only to get no credit from the traditionally horrible New England judges at ringside.
The super middleweight showdown with Pavlik marks Rosinsky’s debut on HBO.
WEIGHTS FOR FULL CARD
HBO Main Event – 12 rds, super bantamweight unification bout
Nonito Donaire, 121.4 lb vs Jeffrey Mathebula 121.8 lb
HBO Co-Feature – 10 rds, super middleweight
Kelly Pavlik, 168.2 lb vs Will Rosinsky, 168.2 lb.
Andy Ruiz 255.6 lb vs Jonte Willis, 215 lb – 8 rds, heavyweight
Jose Roman, 137.2 lb vs. Rodolfo Armenta, 137.4 lb – 8 rds, lightweight
Eric Flores, 134.8 lb vs Raymond Nichol, 134.4 lb – 4 rds, lightweight
Anthony Flores, 140 lb vs Cameron Kreal 140 lb – 4 rds, super lightweight
Vic Casilas, 124 lb vs Jesus Hernandez, 124 lb – 4 rds, featherweight
*Note: Vanes Martirosyan will no longer appear on the non-televised undercard of the show. The super welterweight contender was slated to serve as the chief support to the televised portion, but was scratched after scheduled opponent Ryan Davis failed his medicals and was rejected by the California State Athletic Commssion.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox