By Robert Coster
In the packed, newly inaugurated Roberto Duran Arena in Panama City, IBF/WBA super champion Celestino” Pelenchin” Caballero (32-2, 22 KOs) retained his junior featherweight title belts with a hard-fought twelve round split decision over surprisingly tough and well-schooled Jeffrey Mathebula (22-2-2,12 KOs) of South Africa. Caballero started off very well, winning four of the first five rounds; however, the lanky Panamanian champion started to tire in the second half of the bout and let the South African back in the fight. “Pelenchin” usually enjoys height and reach advantage over his opponents but this was not the case with the equally tall Mathebula who won rounds in the later portion of the fight with a crisp, educated jab. The scores of the judges were as follows: Patricia Jarman (USA) 116-112, Hector Afu (Panama) 116-112 for Caballero while Deaon Dwarte of South Africa had it 116-112 for Mathebula.