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Pacquiao starts training for Matthysse fight

By Jeff Aranow: Manny Pacquiao has started his training camp for his hoped-for June 24th fight against WBA World welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The fight isn’t a sure thing though, as his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank says the money through for the fight to take place.

There are some people that are supposed to be putting up the money to have the fight take place in Malaysia. Arum says they haven’t come through with the money. If the money doesn’t materialize, then Pacquiao could be training for nothing.

Pacquiao has a kick off press conference planned for April 4 in Manila. He a second press conference planned for April 6 in Kuala Lumpur. Whether those press conferences take place or not will likely come down to whether the money for the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight comes through. It would be a waste of time for the press conferences to take place if they’re unsure if the money for the match will be there.

”There are minor details to threshed out,” Pacquiao said to about his fight with Matthysse.

The money not being there yet for the fight would seem to major detail rather than a minor detail. Without the money, Matthysse isn’t going to fight. Golden Boy Promotions are interested in the fight, but nothing is happening yet.

If Pacquiao does face Matthysse, it would be a good fight. Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) is a big puncher, and Pacquiao has a lot of speed and power still. The speed isn’t what it once was for Pacquiao, but he’s still fast for a 39-year-old fighter. This fight would have been excellent around 2012 when both guys were still in their prime.

Matthysse has had some wars against guys like Ruslan Chagaev, and then he suffered a bad eye injury against Viktor Postol in 2015. Matthysse came back last year from a 1 ½ year layoff to defeat Emmanuel Taylor by a 5th round knockout. Matthysse followed that victory with an 8th round knockout win over unbeaten Tewa Kiram to win the vacant WBA ‘regular’ welterweight title on January 27 at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

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There’s some disagreement about whether Pacquiao is still signed with Arum’s Top Rank company. He says Pacquiao is still under contract with Top Rank.

”All I’m saying is that he is still under contract with Top Rank for reasonably long period of time, but I don’t know exactly when the contract will experience,” Arum said to the Manila Times.

If Arum is correct about Pacquiao still being under contract, then it sounds like he’s going to be tied with the promoter for a long time. Arum says he’s still under contract for a “reasonably long period,” which suggests that it might be long enough to where Pacquiao won’t have much left of his physical skills by the time the contract expires. Pacquiao re-upped with Arum not long ago when he could have gone on his own. Now he’s in the situation where he’s being matched against guys like Jeff Horn in Australia and being offered an undercard spot against a badly shot Mike Alvarado on the Horn vs. Terence Crawford undercard. Would Pacquiao be in a better position if he was with another promoter? You must wonder.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Pacquiao if the money doesn’t come through for the Matthysse fight. Will Pacquiao then have to fight Mike Alvarado on the Horn-Crawford undercard? Will Pacquiao be matched against the winner of that fight? There’s talk that Arum would like for Pacquiao to fight Jose Ramirez if he beats Amir Imam for the vacant WBC light welterweight title this Saturday night.

Pacquiao would move down to 140 and face the 26-year-old Ramirez for the WBC light welterweight title. That would presumably be televised on regular ESPN, as Ramirez doesn’t have a large fan base. He’s a 2012 U.S Olympian, but not well known. That’s probably not the big fight that Pacquiao wants. Fighting Ramirez for the WBC 140 lb. title isn’t the same thing as Pacquiao fighting a well-known guy like Matthysse for the WBA ‘regular’ 147 lb. strap. Pacquiao hand-picked the 35-year-old Matthysse, because he likes his fighting style and he thinks it’ll be a great fight. It would be a good fight, but if there needs to be huge money for the match to take place, then it might not happen.

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