By Ronnie Nathanielsz
The IBF-ordered mandatory rematch between champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire and No. 3 ranked Moruti Mthalane who is handled by well-known South African promoter Branco Milenkovic is unlikely to happen.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum who is Donaire’s promoter said the Ring Magazine No.8 ranked pound-for-pound fighter is expected to move up in weight to hopefully fight Jose “Carita” Lopez (39-7-2, 32 KO’s) for the WBO super flyweight title or face WBA No. 1 ranked Hugo Cazares (29-6-1, 21 KO’s) in an interim title fight.
The WBA interim title fight is a possibility since WBA,WBC and IBF 115 pound champion Vic Darchinyan (32-1-1, 26 KO’s) is moving up to fight IBF bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko (26-1, 22 KO’s) in a title fight in Sunrise, Florida on July 11.
Arum said matchmaker Bruce Trampler was working on the opponent for Donaire and they would know something definite by next week. Donaire himself told us he didn’t know who his opponent will be on the August 15 Top Rank fight card in Las Vegas but that he is “already training and is getting back into top shape slowly and right now feels good.” Donaire informed us some two weeks ago that he had relinquished the IBO title but was retaining the IBF belt for the time being.
Donaire reiterated that he wishes to move up to super flyweight but has no fear of fighting Mthalane if he has to, saying “I can do it again as long as I know in advance and have enough time to train and bring my weight down to 112 pounds.” Donaire says he currently weighs around 130 pounds.
Milenkovic told us he believes Mthalane “deserves this opportunity again” and if the rematch with Donaire pushes through “the winner will be the sport.”
The promoter of Mthalane politely took issue with our report that Donaire threw more punches and power shots which was also reported by some other boxing writers. Milenkovic pointed out that HBO stats showed Donaire threw 311 punches to Mthalane’s 278 but that they each landed 63 of the punches thrown.
Milenkovic also claimed that Mthalane was “doing very well in the last three rounds prior to the stoppage and gave so much trouble to the man who in a previous fight destroyed the great Vic Darchinyan” referring to Donaire’s smashing 5th round TKO of Darchinyan on July 7, 2007 to win the IBF and IBO titles.
Mthalane’s handler made note of the fact that while Donaire is No. 8 in the pound-for-pound rankings, Mthalane is No. 8 in Ring Magazine’s flyweight rankings.
Two boxing sites, Now Boxing and Bleacher Report had the following to say on the Donaire-Mthalane title fight. Now Boxing said “Donaire showed himself the more skillful fighter, controlling the contest from the start while John Ramos on Bleacher Report noted that Donaire, “although rusty because of the long layoff convincingly won against Mthalane.”
No question, the game little South African gave Donaire a good fight before referee Joe Cortez stopped the bout on the advice of the ring physician because of a cut suffered by Mthalane under his left eye.