Eight division world champion and presumptive future Hall of famer Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) will challenge Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36KOs) for the WBA “regular” welterweight championship at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malayssia on July 14.
Pacquiao, 39, continues his improbable quest for glory in what is no less a high-stakes matchup.
Last time out, Pacman lost a controversial twelve round unanimous decision to hometown hero Jeff Horn for the WBO welterweight belt in Brisbane.
Manny was the heavy favorite and most onlookers had him winning until judges revealed their cards scoring the bout 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113, all in favor of Horn.
Horn used his youth, size and superior strength to muscle Pacquiao into the ropes and appeared to outwork him down the final stretch. That defeat combined with a subpar 2-2 record across his last 4 fights, leaves some wondering whether the Filipino legend should hang up the gloves for good.
Team Pacquiao seems to believe that the Argentine puncher is tailor made for the aging warrior.
Strength and conditioning Coach Justin Fortune has been studying Matthysse and believes the fighter has a suspect chin after viewing footage of his stoppage loss to Viktor Postol in 2015.
However, extreme caution should be exercised here as Manny faces a formidable puncher with nearly 40 knockouts to his credit and an aggressive fighting style.
That fearsome reputation was on full display when Matthysse scored a sensational eighth round knockout over little known Tewa Kiram on HBO’s Boxing After Dark in January.
The fight itself was mostly uneventful before the knockout with Kiram relying heavily on his jab to keep the Argentine at bay. Matthysse finally closed the distance and dropped the Thailand fighter hard on his back with a strong left and follow-up right. Kiram beat the count but then foolishly opted to trade until another left crumpled him to the canvas for good.
At 35, “The Machine” is no longer in his prime but power is usually the last thing to go as fighter’s age, and the defending champion has proven this true many times over.
While Matthysse has defeated some good, not great fighters, his loses have all come at the hands of elite opponents.
His last loss, a TKO at the hands of Viktor Postol, showed that he’s susceptible to fighters with a reach advantage, but that’s not something Pac-Man (67 in. reach) will hold over Matthysse (69 in.). The current odds are skewed a little too heavily towards Pacquiao, if you are considering wagering on The Pac Man this site for sports betting is important to know beforehand, with a wide range of sportsbook reviews and boxing odds.
BoxNation caught up with the fighters ahead of their clash and both are promising fireworks.
You will see a young Pacman
“You will see a young Manny Pacquiao throwing a lot of punches, and more footwork, head movements, side by side [motions] – that’s my goal to achieve for this fight. It’s going to be a great night,” Pacquiao said.
“We’re focused very much on this fight, and people will see the same Lucas Matthysse as always, the one who always looks for the action. It’s a fight that I like because of our similar styles and because we are of the same height,” said Matthysse.
This is Manny’s fight to lose despite the fact that his adversary is the much stronger puncher. They are both all-action fighters in the twilight of their respective careers, which makes it difficult to predict a winner.
However, I like Manny by a wide margin in this one. Matthysse simply does not have the speed, boxing skills or engine to match Pacquiao on his A-game.
A late stoppage would not be out of the question either since Matthysse has faded when taken to the tenth round and beyond. On the other hand, Pacquiao has not scored a knockout since stopping Miguel Cotto in 2009.
It should be an interesting contest but I suspect that even a diminished Pacquiao will still have too much for the boxer-puncher Matthysse.
Prediction: Pacquiao uses movement and angles to cruise to a comfortable unanimous decision win over Matthysse.