Pacquiao and Matthysse agree to July 8 fight
By Jim Dower: Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) and Lucas Matthysse have made a verbal agreement to face each other on July 8 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, according to RingTV. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank is helping put the fight together, and it’ll be televised on ESPN.
It appears that Pacquiao is still with Arum after all. The fight will be televised in the U.S on July 7, but it’ll take place on July 8, Malaysia time.
Pacquiao will be fighting for Matthysse’s WBA World welterweight title. Matthysse is considered the secondary belt holder with the World Boxing Association. Their upper level WBA 147 lb. champion is Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman.
Arum recently had waned Pacquiao to fight on the undercard of the Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford fight on April 14. Pacquiao was offered a fight with Mike Alvarado. Nothing came of that fight after Pacquiao reportedly chose not to take it. It’s unclear what the real reason for Pacquiao not accepting the Alvarado fight. There’ve been conflicting reports about why Pacquiao opted not to take it.
The important thing is Pacquiao won’t be facing Alvarado. He’s got a much better fight against Matthysse on July 7, and it should be interesting for as long as it lasts. Matthysse’s last opponent Tewa Kiram boxed him from the outside and played it safe for the most part. Matthyss eventually closed the distance and knocked Kiram out in the 8th round to win the vacant WBA World welterweight title on January 27.
Pacquiao says he’s going to speak with Arum about a potential fight against Vasyl Lomachenko. Pacquiao first has to take care of business against the very dangerous 35-year-old Matthysse before he starts looking ahead to a fight against highly rated pound-for-pound star Lomachenko. Matthysse has the kind of power that can put Pacquiao in trouble real quick.
“[Arum] is invited and there’s no problem. I think after my fight with Matthysse, we will talk regarding the possible Pacquiao-[Vasiliy] Lomachenko fight in the future,” Pacquiao said via RingTV.com. “That is a good fight because he is a champion and I’ll be challenged to become a champion again. At the same time, I don’t want the people to say that’s just a tune-up fight.”
Pacquiao lost his last fight to Jeff Horn on July 2 last year. The fight took place in Brisbane, Australia. Pacquiao looked like he wasn’t in the kind of physical shape he needed to be to win the fight. If Pacquiao had been a little better trained for the fight, he would have had a good chance of winning, Horn based on better stamina more than anything. It wasn’t Pacquiao’s age that caused him to lose, because he’s a young 39. It was more of a stamina issue.
Pacquiao works as a senator, and he needed a little more time to train for a fighter as talented as Horn. Pacquiao has been inactive since the Horn fight. Pacquiao has been busy with his job in the Philippines. Pacquiao can still fight at a high level when he’s in good shape. We saw that in Pacquiao’s wins over Jessie Vargas and Tim Bradley in 2016. Pacquiao was in excellent shape for those two fights, and he won them easy. Against Horn, Pacquiao looked like he hadn’t conditioned himself properly with enough cardio work.
Matthysse looked rusty against Kiram. It was the wrong style for Matthysse given his inactivity since 2015. He came into the Kiram fight with just one match in the last 2 ½ years, and the ring rusty showed.
Pacquiao is believed to be no longer be with trainer Freddie Roach. We’ll have to see if that’s true or not. Matthysse has the style of fighting that Pacquiao has always done well against, so it might not matter if he’s no longer with Roach.