Manny Pacquiao KOs Lucas Matthysse to capture WBA ‘regular’ welterweight title
Future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer 39-year-old Manny Pacquiao, 60-7-2 (39), is a world champion again after battering WBA “regular” welterweight titlist Lucas Matthysse, 39-5 (36), on Saturday night (Sunday morning), at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Although Matthysse showed some grit in spots throughout the bout, Pacquiao was busier, more aggressive and in control for most of it. The bout ended when Pacquiao deposited a frustrated and seemingly dejected Matthysse on the canvas for the third time.
Pacquiao’s right jab, from his southpaw stance, followed by a hard, short left uppercut found a home throughout the bout and did much of the damage. The time of the fight-ending stoppage was 2:43 of round seven, affording Manny his first stoppage win since 2009.
Before the fight, there were many calling for the Philippine legend to retire. He hadn’t scored a knockout in almost 10 years and he is well into his third decade in the fight game. He has 69 fights under his belt and is battling the relentless and undefeated Father Time, as he steps into the ring to face any opponents going forward. However Saturday night, he did manage to channel the Manny of old and bang his way to an impressive win over veteran tough guy Matthysse.
Pacquiao landed crisp, accurate, three-punch combinations, controlled much of every round of the fight and sent Matthysse, a rugged, hard-hitting Argentinean to the canvas on three occasions.
The crowd in Malaysia was loud and raucous for their beloved hero with every punch he threw. They erupted into a frenzy when Matthysse, who never really was ever able to find his rhythm in the fight to mount any real offensive attack on Pacquiao, was dropped for the final time in the contest.
As referee Kenny Bayless was counting, Matthysse spit out his mouthpiece and Bayless immediately waved off the fight.
Pacquiao had his win, an impressive stoppage at that, and the elated crowd knew its hero had lived to fight another day.
While “Pac-Man” will immediately return to his political duties, as a senator in the Philippines, one question that arose quickly in a post-fight interview was, “Whom do you want to fight next?”
Pacquiao will let his promotional team handle that decision but fight fans know that while Manny looked as good as he has in a long time Saturday night, moving forward, the assignments can only get tougher. Squaring off against the best of the 147-pound class will sees him look at possibly facing WBO beltholder Terence Crawford, IBF titlist Errol Spence Jr., WBA “super” champion Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter or former WBO beltholder Jeff Horn in a rematch.
With most promotional firms looking to keep bouts in-house, don’t be surprised to see Pacquiao engage in a catchweight bout with pound-for-pounder and three-division champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, Omaha, Nebraska’s Crawford or even Horn, all of whom are connected to Top Rank.
That decision will come down the line before too long. In the meantime, all his “Pac-maniacs” know they will get to see their beloved champion again and that’s all that matters today.