Nonito "Filipino Flash" Donaire (28-1, 18 KO) is putting his WBO super bantamweight title on the line against the much taller and bigger Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3-2, 14 KO) of South Africa, the current IBF super bantamweight titleholder.
The HBO-televised event will take place at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. on Saturday night. Both fighters will be defending their titles for the first time.
According to Donaire, he wants to take the challenge against taller and bigger opponents as he moves up to higher weight classes. Most of Donaire's past opponents were either shorter or smaller as he attempts to face a much taller and bigger opponent on fight night.
Donaire stands 5'7" (1.70 m) with a reach of 68" (173 cm) while Mathebula stands 5'11" with a reach of 70" (178cm).
"The motivation is in my heart to work toward my goals and my dreams," Donaire said via ESPN. "To be a unified champion, then challenge anyone out there and make it undisputed is a dream, and hopefully I can make it happen."
He said he will make fun with this fight as it will be the first time he will face a taller and bigger opponent. It will be a his biggest challenge, he added.
Mathebula, who weighed 121.8 pounds during the weigh-in ceremonies, said he will use his height and reach advantage to score a win over Donaire, who weighed 121.4 pounds.
“I'm confident because I'm going to deliver the goods. I'm going to win Saturday,” he said via ABS-CBN News.
Donaire, who is ranked No.4 in Ring's pound-for-pound listing, is confident he will beat Mathebula, but fight observers say he is risking his title with the South African as he would find himself experimenting with a taller and bigger opponent, not to mention Mathebula's advantage in reach.
Supporting cards for the Donaire vs. Mathebula showdown with TV coverage include: Kelly Pavlik vs. Will Rosinski (super middleweight), Cameron Kreal vs. Anthony Flores (super lightweight) and Joe Wellis vs. Andy Ruiz (heavyweight)
According to a report by Dr. Ed de la Vega of Philboxing, fight officials for the Saturday night boxing event include referee Pat Russel of San Diego and judges Jonathan Davis of Buena Park, Calif., Deon Duarte of South Africa and Steve Morrow of Hollister, Calif.