MANILA, Philippines – Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire and Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa are all set for their super bantamweight unification bout this Saturday at the Home Depot Center in California (Sunday morning in Manila).
Donaire, who holds the World Boxing Organization super bantamweight belt, assures his fans that his hand is completely healed.
Donaire injured his right hand against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in their bout last February.
"It's good, it's good. We took a month to heal the hand. It's something that's going to happen, so we've prepared for every situation," he said.
Donaire said this is the hardest he’s ever trained for an opponent.
"I'm very excited. I'm really, really excited to be fighting a guy who's going to be a challenge. It's something, I've never been in this zone," he said. "This guy, you guys may not know him, but he's an incredible fighter."
The 33-year-old Mathebula, nicknamed "The Mongoose," holds a five-inch height advantage over Donaire and has a record of 26 wins, three losses and two draws.
"I feel happy and I thank Nonito for giving me this chance and (Top Rank executive) Bob Arum," Mathebula said.
But the South African boxer, who holds the International Boxing Federation super bantamweight belt, warned that he came to fight.
"I'm here to fight, guys. I'm not here to... leave my baggage. I'm a champion too," Mathebula said.
"Nonito has never fought a junior featherweight. He's a flyweight so it's going to be tough for him. Believe me, it's not going to be easy," he added.
Nick Durandt, Mathebula's trainer, said the title unification bout will be "all about size."
"We don't talk smack. We're going to defend our title and going to win another title," Durandt said.
While Donaire is happy to fight before a large Filipino crowd at the Home Depot Center, Mathebula is looking to make history as the first South African champion to unify a boxing title.
Just like Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao, Donaire is on a mission to collect multiple world titles in different weight divisions.
But because the super bantamweight division is loaded with talent, Donaire will most likely remain at that weight class for the rest of the year. -- Report from Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News North America