BOXERS can change like chameleons. One minute they are bosom friends who would kill to protect each other, the next they are sworn enemies .
Jeffrey "The Mongoose" Mathebula is one such fighter, who has turned against his former friend Takalani "The Panther" Ndlovu.
The two used to be very close while they were stablemates at trainer Nick Durandt's gym. Mathebula is still with Durandt, while Ndlovu has just teamed up with Manny Fernandez, Durandt's arch-rival.
Mathebula and Ndlovu are pencilled in for a showdown on August 27 for the right to challenge IBF junior featherweight champion Steve Molitor of Canada.
Mathebula is ranked third, while Ndlovu is two spots below him. The top two spots are vacant.
Their duel will be presented by promoter Branco Milenkovic at a venue yet to be confirmed.
"I will end Takalani's career. He has already messed up two chances against Molitor, so this is my time," Limpopo's Mathebula told Sowetan yesterday.
"Takalani is an average boxer and I will punish him badly. If he falls I will lift him up for more punishment. I'm a shooter with style. I do not rely on body punches like him. I'm a full-package fighter and people will see that when I fight Takalani."
Mathebula lost his IBO belt to Thomas Mashaba in 2003.
After that setback he chalked up nine wins, annexing the WBC International title in the process.
He was robbed against Celestino Caballero for the IBF belt, which the Panamanian forfeited last year.
Molitor won the vacant belt after defeating Ndlovu on March 27.
Mathebula has 23 wins (13 KOs), two losses and two draws, while Ndlovu has 30 wins (18 KOs) and six losses.