‘The Machine’ is back

Welterweight Lucas Matthysse (left) and Emmanuel Taylor. Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Welterweight Lucas Matthysse (left) and Emmanuel Taylor. Photo credit: Tom Hogan/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions


As part of this weekend’s pay-per-view telecast from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Lucas Matthysse faces Emmanuel Taylor. It’s been about a year-and-a-half since we’ve seen Matthysse, who was last seen getting stopped by Viktor Postol in 10 rounds at the StubHub Center in October of 2015. On that fateful evening, Matthysse suffered a broken left orbital bone.


He was scheduled to fight on the undercard of last year’s event which featured Saul Alvarez’s “Canelo-weight” title defense against Amir Khan but opted to delay his return. Many believed Matthysse was having doubts about continuing on with his career.


But last week, during an open workout at the City of Angels Gym in Los Angeles, he insisted (through a Golden Boy Promotions publicist), “I believed I needed a good rest. I didn’t consider retiring at all.”


After a long hard road in boxing, which has seen him battle Zab Judah, Devon Alexander, Humberto Soto, Ajose Olusegun, Lamont Peterson, Danny Garcia, John Molina Jr., Ruslan Provodnikov and Postol, Matthysse believed he just needed a respite from the sport.


So what exactly has he been up to the past 18 months?


“I went back home to my province in Argentina, went back to spend time with my family, my mom, my kids, my wife. I went on my motorcycle, went fishing. Then I went back to training,” said Matthysse, 37-4 (34).


When asked if he missed the sport, Matthysse answered, “I never separated myself from boxing. My nephew, who’s here with me today, I watched him train, went to the gym, went to his fights. I was always involved, even when I wasn’t training.”


But has the warranty expired on “The Machine” at age 34, after many hard miles on the odometer? Does he have anything left in the tank?


His new trainer Joel Diaz states affirmatively, “Yes, he does. The reason why is this: Every fighter deserves a little bit of a break. I’ve learned from experience, as a trainer, when you live around fighters for many years, they put in their time, work and effort. And at a point, they need a little bit of a break. A happy fighter always performs better and, if he’s not happy – he’s not going to perform. I see that now as I’m getting closer to Lucas Matthysse, speaking to him and just catching little things that happened to him in the past. I see where it comes from.”


Diaz does prefer that Matthysse campaigns at 140 rather than 147 (where the weight limit is set for this upcoming match-up with Taylor.


Taylor, 20-4 (14), is a solid, professional prizefighter. He’s pushed Antonio Orozco and was competitive versus Adrien Broner – and is still just 26 years old. This is more than just a stay-busy/tune-up fight for Matthysse. It will give you a real indication of just where he is at this stage of his career.


“Matthysse wanted a real fight,” insisted Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions. “Look, he came back and he wants to prove that he still belongs and that he’s capable of fighting. He told us, ‘Who knows how much longer I’m going to be in this sport? I don’t want to come back and not have a plan. Let’s go in there and fight someone who has a name and do something impressive.’ Because his next fight, he wants to fight the likes of (WBA/WBC welterweight titlist) Keith Thurman. He’s willing to fight a Danny Garcia. He’s willing to fight a guy like (Tim) Bradley. He wants to fight (WBO welterweight titlist Manny) Pacquiao. So he wants to prove to everybody that he’s capable and he’s still the same Matthysse.”


(Those aforementioned fights would involve having to work with the Premier Boxing Champions or Top Rank Promotions, to which Gomez says, “We’re willing and when you have a guy with a name like Matthysse, who’s well-recognized and has fought on HBO a handful of times – he’s fought on Showtime, as well, been fighting on big pay-per-views before – why not? He’s a fan-friendly fighter. He’s a good name, a former champion. We’re willing to work with anybody and to do anything.”)


But before any plans can be made, first Matthysse has to show he’s still a viable force. The Taylor fight should be a good barometer. His short-term goals are very simple: “Fight this May and then try to find a bigger fight,” he stated.


Who knows what the future holds for this rugged, heavy-handed banger from Argentina? It’s been a storied career, regardless. He’s become a fan-favorite in the States, performed on large stages and has been involved in multiple “Fight of the Year” bouts. It’s been a successful career, any way you slice it. Matthysse certainly seems satisfied with what he’s accomplished.


“My dream has always to be on these big cards, fight for championships and I’ve been able to accomplish that and being a fighter from South America and being able to make a name here in the United States.”





Here’s this week’s episode of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly.





“Cinco De” Mario Lopez and I discuss Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and look back at Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko.





The IBF says its heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has a mandatory defense due versus Kubrat Pulev…ESPN will have coverage throughout the week on its various platforms from Las Vegas on Canelo-Chavez…Shannon Briggs-Fres Oquendo has been set for June 3 in Hollywood, Florida…. “LA 92” was very good on Nat Geo…Can you believe how good “Billions” on Showtime has been in Season Two?…I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.





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