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Donaire dominates Mathebula

Ringside by Francisco Salazar and Rocco Morales
Photos by “Big” Joe Miranda

Super bantamweight Nonito Donaire admitted during the buildup to his unification fight against Jeffrey Mathebula that he was looking to knock out the lanky South African fighter.

Although Donaire dominated the fight against Mathebula on Saturday night, he may have gotten caught up in the moment to end the fight spectacularly in front of a pro-Donaire crowd at the Home Depot Center.

Looking to end the fight with one punch against a fighter who was looking to survive halfway through the fight may or may not convince those people he could defeat the likes of Guillermo Rigondeaux, Toshiaki Nishioka, or Abner Mares.

However, with the victory over Mathebula, Donaire is halfway through another goal: unifying all the world title belts in the super bantamweight division.

Donaire dropped Mathebula once, but settled for a 12 round unanimous decision victory before a crowd of about 3,700 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. With the victory, Donaire defended his WBO title and won Mathebula's IBF title.

The bout headlined a nine-bout card, presented by Top Rank.

Aside from being mentioned amongst the top five of most pound-for-pound rankings, Donaire is also considered one of the top fighters at 122 pounds. He proved so with a 12 round unanimous decision over Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. in his first significant fight at 122 pounds in February.

Mathebula was an unknown fighter to casual boxing fans, having only fought once outside of his native South Africa prior to Saturday's fight in Carson. He was attempting to defend his title he won in his last fight, a 12 round split decision over Takalani Ndlovu in March.

Donaire controlled the action in the first three rounds as he pressed the action throwing wild hooks or crosses to the head of Mathebula. Few punches connected, but Donaire won those rounds more on sheer aggression.

Donaire backed up what he said during the pre-fight buildup in the fourth round as he attempted to end the fight with one punch. He almost did by dropping Mathebula with a left hook to the head near the end of the fourth round. It was a left hook to the head by Donaire that fighters whom he fought in smaller weight classes probably would not have gotten up from. After Mathebula stood up before the count of eight, the bell sounded to end the round.

It took Mathebula a while to get going, but he finally was able to let his hands go in the fifth and sixth rounds. At times, Mathebula threw combinations to the head, snapping Donaire's head back with a right hand. However, Donaire came back in the seventh round, ducking Mathebula's punches and countering with his own.

Mathebula did little in the next couple of rounds. However, Donaire was not as active as in the previous rounds. Due to the non-activity, the crowd began booing the action, showing its displeasure of the lack of action in the ring.

However, Donaire aggressively pressed the action in the 11th round. He threw more punches and tried to connect with those hard hooks or crosses as he had Mathebula against the ropes or in a corner. Mathebula was in survival mode in the final round as Donaire continued to stalk him around the ring. Mathebula would throw a few combinations at Donaire, almost to keep him away from him until the final bell sounded.

All three judges scored the bout in favor of Donaire, 117-110, 118-109, and 119-108. scored the bout 118-109 in favor of Donaire.

"I wanted to work the body, but it didn't work because he would run away," said Donaire, who had some swelling and marks on his face after the fight. "He was a tall and awkward guy to fight. Nothing worked."

Asked about plans after the fight, Donaire responded that he wanted to unify all the belts. Promoter Bob Arum said that he would plan to line up Nishioka or Jorge "Travieso" Arce after the Mathebula fight.

Mathebula said after the fight that he got hit hard in the 11th round that he felt a back molar in his mouth loosen.

Donaire, from General Santos City, Philippines and now residing in the Bay Area of California, improves to 29-1, 18 KOs. Mathebula, from Brakpan, South Africa, falls to 26-4-2, 14 KOs. - F.S.

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Pavlik defeats Rosinsky

In the scheduled 10-round super middleweight semi-main event, former middleweight king, Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik (40-2, 34KO) scored a unanimous decision victory by scores of 97-92 and 98-91 (twice) over journeyman Will "Power" Rosinsky. Rosinsky's nickname did not apply to his punching prowess and he was unable to strike an ounce of fear into Pavlik who floored Rosinsky with a short right cross counter in the second round.

The best Rosinsky would be able to do against Pavlik was to cut Pavlik over the left eye with a punch in the fouth round but, by and large, it was an anticlimatic fight, with Rosinsky trying to stay out of harm's way, and with Pavlik winning round after round but failing to put away his overmatched opponent. Unfortunately, Rosinsky didn't put up half the fight that his screaming fiancee put up for the majority of the fight from the fifth row. With her Brooklyn accent, it was like "My Cousin Vinny" goes to Hollywood.

With the victory, Pavlik picks up his third victory of 2012 and remains in title contention, although the big name fighters he would like to fight such as Andre Ward and Carl Froch remain unlikely due to scheduling conflicts and the deep cut suffered by Pavlik that may keep him out of action until near the end of the calendar year.

In post fight comments, Pavlik said about his knockdown of Rosinsky, "I got him with a short right hand and it was deep, flush and felt good.

"I always felt I was ahead in the fight and now I'd like to get ready for a big fight in the fall but in the 4th round I got cut by a punch and it is a deep cut."

With the victory, the 30 year Pavlik remains in title contention and keeps his top 10 ranking in the WBC/IBF/WBA/WBO intact. Meanwhile, Rosinsky will likely return to stepping stone status for up and coming fighters wanting to add a name to their record. - R.M.

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Ruiz still undefeated

Heavyweight Andy Ruiz, Jr. stopped Jonte Willis in the eighth and final round. Ruiz was busier and displayed accuracy in landing repeatedly to the head. His punches began to close the right eye of Willis by the the third round. Ruiz scored a knockdown in the sixth round with a barrage of punches, although Willis claimed he was off-balanced. In the final round, Ruiz stunned Willis with a barrage of punches, prompting referee Wayne Hedgepeth to step in and stop the bout at 54 seconds. Ruiz, from Imperial Valley, CA, improves to 15-0, 9 KOs. Willis, from Tacoma, WA, falls to 8-4-1, 3 KOs.

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Flores survives Kreal

In the last non-televised bout of the undercard, super lightweight Anthony Flores won a hard-fought four round unanimous decision over Cameron Kreal.

Flores dropped Kreal with a left hook to the body in the first round. It looked as though Flores would dominate, but Kreal came on in the second half of the fight, at times outlanding the aggressive Flores. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Flores, 38-37, 38-37, and 39-36. scored the bout 38-37 in favor of Flores.

Flores, who hails from nearby Inglewood, goes to 2-0, 1 KO. Kreal, from Las Vegas, NV, drops to 2-2-2. - F.S.

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Solomon returns with victory

Welterweight Brad Solomon won an eight round unanimous decision over Hector Munoz.

Solomon, who was at one time ranked number one by the WBA, was fighting for the first time in almost 16 months. He dropped Munoz with a straight right hand to the head in the second round. Munoz pressed the action, wanting to fight on the inside. However, Solomon countered effectively to the head, specifically with right hands to the head.

At times, Munoz spent more time talking smack to Solomon after Solomon landed a significant amount of punches. Later in the fight, Munoz was deducted a point from referee Jose Cobian for a low blow. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Solomon, 78-72, 79-71, and 77-73. scored the bout 78-72 in favor of Solomon.

Solomon, from Douglasville, GA and now fighting out of Lafayette, LA, improves to 18-0, 7 KOs. Munoz, who trains out of Oxnard, CA and resides in Albuquerque, NM, falls to 20-8-1, 13 KOs. - F.S.

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Gibson decisions Rodriguez

In a bout featuring unbeaten super lightweights, KeAndre Gibson won a hard-fought six round unanimous decision over Moris Rodriguez.

Gibson landed the more-telling blows in the first half of the fight, countering Rodriguez with hard right crosses or left hooks to the head. Gibson slowed down considerably in the final two rounds, which allowed for Rodriguez to control the action and outpunch Gibson. All three judges, including, scored the bout 58-56 in favor of Gibson.

Gibson, from St. Louis, MO, goes to 7-0-1, 3 KOs, while Rodriguez, from Chico, CA, drops to 3-1-1, 2 KOs. - F.S.

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Roman destroys Armenta

Jose "El Gato" Roman (14-0, 11KO's) stole the show with a violent and crushing fifth round knockout over Rodolfo Armenta (11-8-1, 9KO). In a lightweight bout scheduled for eight rounds, Roman started the fight off quickly with a first round knockdown, landing a solid double left hook to the head and body of Armenta. Armenta would survive the round, however, and would fight valiantly on. He was having his best round of the fight in the fifth round until Roman absolutely crushed him with a counter left hook that laid him out flat in the middle of the ring.

Armenta, a 24 year old 6' lightweight fighting out of Garden Grove, CA, appears like a force to be reckoned with in the lightweight division. - R.M.

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Flores decisions Nichol

In a scheduled four-round lightweight bout that resembled a tough man contest, the super aggressive Eric Flores (4-1-1, 1KO), from nearby Inglewood, CA, threw everything but the kitchen sink over the shell shocked and previously undefeated Raymond Nichol (3-1-1, 2KO). By sheer aggression, Flores never let Nichol into the fight and seemed to hurt Nichol on a few occasions but had to settle for a very apparent unanimous decision victory. There were no knockdowns but the scores for the bout were 40-35 and 40-36 (twice). - R.M.

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Pasillas stops Adame

In the opening bout of the Top Rank card, featherweight Victor Pasillas stopped Jesus Adame in the third round of a scheduled four round bout.

Adame was dropped by a Pasillas right hand to the head in the second round. Adame fought back in the third, but was stunned by a Pasillas combination. Pasillas followed up with a series of punches until referee Jose Cobian stepped in and stopped the bout at 2:45.

Pasillas, from Los Angeles, CA, goes to 2-0, 1 KO, while Adame, from Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico, falls to 2-10. - F.S.

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Ringside Notes

- After the fight, Nishioka offered a challenge to Donaire in the ring. WBC super bantamweight title holder Abner Mares was at ringside.

- Ring announcer was Lupe Contreras.

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