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BOXING: Moving up has its hazards

BOXING: Moving up has its hazards | Breaking News | – Press-Enterprise.


Division jumping can be a tenuous and dangerous move even for a supernova boxer like Nonito Donaire or former pound-for-pound standout fighter such as Kelly Pavlik.

When you continue moving up into heavier weight divisions, you eventually hit a ceiling.

Donaire (28-1, 18 KOs) will defend his WBO junior featherweight title against South African IBF titleholder Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3-2, 14 KOs), and Pavlik (39-2, 34 KOs) will fight tough New York super middleweight Will Rosinsky (16-1, 9 KOs). Both will test the heavier weight divisions on Saturday, July 7, at Home Depot Center. HBO will televise.

Extreme athleticism and skill has allowed Donaire to blaze through the flyweight, junior bantamweight and bantamweight divisions with nary a hiccup. But when the “Filipino Flash” jumped into the 122-pound junior featherweight class, he encountered Puerto Rico’s stubborn Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.

Though Vazquez couldn’t match Donaire’s speed or power, but he could match his size, arm length and boxing skills. That all resulted in a 12-round contest in which Donaire outscored Vazquez and won a split decision. The speedy southpaw managed a ninth-round knockdown.

“I’m very excited; he’s a taller guy,” Donaire said of his next foe, Mathebula. “I wanted this fight. I wanted someone to motivate me and keep me going, to keep that desire. I don’t know what to expect out there.”

IBF champion Mathebula has only fought once outside of South Africa, and that resulted in a split-decision loss to Celestino Caballero. The fighter known as “the Mongoose” will be making his first defense of the title he captured from fellow South African Takalani Ndlovu in March.

Donaire, 29, has big plans to grab all of the junior featherweight world titles, and this is the first step.

“It’s a motivation,” Donaire said. “I’m moving toward my goal and my dream to be a unified champion, then challenge anyone out there and become undisputed champion. You got to be patient … you can’t look past Mathebula.”

Top Rank’s Bob Arum said this is the first step to bring all of the reigning 122-pound world champions together for an informal world-wide tournament.

“Those who follow boxing know how chock-full of great fighters the super bantamweight division is,” Arum said during a conference call. “We have an endless list of guys who will be making tremendous fights with each other. HBO has recognized this.”

Another boxer making a transition into a heavier weight division is “The Ghost” Pavlik, who fought in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.

The Youngstown, Ohio prizefighter who terrorized the 160-pound middleweight division is now fighting as a super middleweight. The 168-pound super middleweights are a sturdier sort and don’t go down as easily.

Though he eventually stopped Scott Sigmon to win by technical knockout, Pavlik never could knock him down. The fight was stopped because of the overall punishment Pavlik was doling out.

Still, Pavlik dominated a fight that could have resulted in serious injury to Sigmon, who absorbed a tremendous amount of punishment.

“There was no hesitation. It’s an opportunity I can’t pass up,” Pavlik said about accepting another fight less than a month after fighting in Las Vegas. “I’m still in great shape.”

Rosinsky, 27, is a stout power puncher from Ozone Park, N.Y., , who recently defeated the taller and quicker Aaron Pryor Jr. by unanimous decision. That’s not a bad win.

Pavlik does not expect a cream puff.

“This kid is a very game fighter. He’s in good shape,” Pavlik said about Rosinsky. “I’ve been watching a little bit of film on him. He’s a game fighter. He’s in good shape and he likes to mix it up.”

On Saturday, both Donaire and Pavlik will discover if the move up in weight will be a catapult or a mistake.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Javier Fortuna (19-0) vs. Cristobal Cruz (39-13-3).

Sat. pay-per-view, 7 p.m., Anderson Silva (29-4) vs. Chael Sonnen (28-11-1); Tito Ortiz (17-10-1) vs. Forrest Griffin (18-7); Cung Le (7-2) vs. Patrick Cote (18-7).

Sat. Televisa, 8 p.m., Hugo Ruiz (30-1) vs. Jean Sampson (12-1).

Sat. HBO, 10 p.m., Nonito Donaire (28-1) vs. Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3-2).





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