Saturday, July 7th, Nonito Donaire (28-1) will face off against Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3), in defense of his WBO junior featherweight title. The bout will be televised on HBO and should provide Donaire with the opportunity to gain momentum within the junior featherweight division.
Donaire’s promotional team, Top Rank Promotions, has a lot invested in the success of Donaire and will be looking to set him up for mega fights against the likes of Abner Mares, Orlando Solido, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
However, Donaire must continue to put together impressive victories in order to get the significant payday opportunities that he is seeking. Donaire has stated that he feels he is a pay-per-view fighter and in order to create such a demand Donaire must look incredibly impressive as it is difficult to create such a demand within the lower weight classes.
As for Mathebula, he is coming off 3 consecutive victories and will have an opportunity of a lifetime to gain a junior featherweight title. He will definitely be entering the ring as an underdog that has been put there to make Donaire look impressive.
Mathebula has no risk involved in this fight as Donaire is the fighter with a substantial amount of risk on the line due to projected future paydays if he can continue to impress.
As a result, Mathebula must look to hurt Donaire in this fight as he will more than likely not be given a decision victory in a close fight. Donaire has not shown any signs of possessing a weak chin, but Mathebula must approach the fight with the mindset that he can hurt Donaire.
From a promotional standpoint, it should be interesting to see if Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions can come together to agree upon some future match ups between their fighters. It is no secret that Golden Boy holds some of the top fighters in the lower weight classes with Abner Mares, Gary Russel Jr., and Chris John within their stable of fighters.
Yet, it would not be surprising to first see Donaire take on Salido and Lopez before he were to take on any Golden Boy fighter due to the fact that Salido and Lopez are both Top Rank fighters. This conclusion stems from the fact that it now seems to be the promotional model to keep fights in house if possible.
Nevertheless, if the lower weight classes are going to emerge as marketable weight classes then fight agreements will have to be made amongst various promotional companies. If not, the public interest will not be captured in a division that is already difficult to create significant demand in.
Though, it must be recognized that the talent currently exist in the division to create some intriguing fights worth putting on pay-per-view.
In the end, it will be up to the “power brokers” of boxing to make the match ups that will truly excite the public and as a result will put more money in their pockets. If not, a true injustice will have occurred to boxing fans around the world as well as the fighters themselves who will miss out on getting all they could get from the sport of boxing both career wise and monetarily.