Nonito Donaire will return on July 7, with Brandon Rios in the co-feature on HBO. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
It was a big day for fight announcements, as we previously mentioned the Khan vs Garcia and Mitchell vs Banks double-header set for July 14, plus the finalization of Canelo Alvarez vs Paul Williams for September 15. Top Rank has also gotten into the act, setting a card for July 7 at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., with the returns of Nonito Donaire and Brandon Rios in a pair of fights that should guarantee action, and one that could be incredibly risky.
BoxingScene.com reports that the card was headed to either June 30 or July 7, but with Khan taking July 14, July 7 is the likely date.
Brandon Rios (30-0-1, 22 KO) will officially move up to the 140-pound division to face Mauricio Herrera (18-2, 7 KO), who lost to Mike Alvarado on April 14 in an early Fight of the Year contender.
Though it's a good matchup action-wise, reality is likely that Herrera will again find himself overpowered in much the same way he was against Alvarado. Rios needs kind of a rehab win right now, though, following his robbery win over Richard Abril, so the fight is entirely understandable, and if he does win impressively, it's certainly no stretch to think that Rios would face Alvarado next in a fight that could be truly incredible.
The main event in Carson, however, will see Nonito Donaire facing Jeffrey Mathebula in what could be a big-time trap fight for the pound-for-pound contending Filipino super bantamweight.
Donaire (28-1, 18 KO) won the vacant WBO title in his last fight on February 4, outpointing Wilfredo Vazquez Jr in San Antonio. Mathebula (26-3-2, 14 KO) will bring the IBF title to this fight, and is a definite superior opponent to the original idea for Donaire's July fight, Cristian Mijares. The 32-year-old Mathebula isn't an exceptional fighter, but at 5'10" is very tall for the weight and will have a real height advantage on Donaire, which will be a change of pace for Nonito.
It's a very good main event with a co-feature that at worst should provide plenty of action. I've got no arguments with this card. Frankly, I've got no arguments with anything we're seeing announced right now. (No serious arguments, anyway.)