Nonito Donaire is the overwhelming favorite on his upcoming title-unification bout against Jeffrey Mathebula, but the South African strongly declared that he is better fighter than the Filipino champion.
“Expect a guy who is taller, who is smarter, who will be everything,” said Mathebula in an interview with RingTV. “Everything Nonito’s got, I got it twice. He’s a good boxer, but believe me, I’m better than him.”
Mathebula also downplayed the criticisms against him on fighting just for the second time outside South Africa, saying that it won’t be a major hurdle since he has fought in major fights, including her amateur-career bouts like his campaign in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The South African has three defeats, but most of those defeats could have gone either way in favor of Mathebula.
Three years ago, Mathebula could have snatched his first world title, but was defeated by Celestino Caballero via controversial split decision. He had another chance a year after, but was defeated in another close split decision against Takalani Ndlovu before winning in their rematch last March to capture the IBF title.
Mathebula will be stepping on the ring as the much-taller fighter, something unusual for Donaire, who is used to fighting boxers smaller than him, which makes the South African more confident about his chances against the Filipino champion.
“I’m a natural junior featherweight. I came from flyweight to junior featherweight, so he’s facing a natural featherweight. It’s going to be tough for him,” Mathebula confidently said.
Mathebula has everything to gain with a win, while Donaire has much to lose since he is expected to be lined-up in big money fights if he will hurdle the South African on their upcoming showdown this Sunday at the Home Depot Center.