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Pacquiao’s fight with Matthysse moved to July 8

Lucas Matthysse Manny Pacquiao

By Jim Dower: Manny Pacquiao’s fight against WBA World welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse has been moved from June 24 to July 8 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The reason for the postponement is because the original June 24th date conflicted with Ramadan, according to the Manila Bulletin.

The kickoff press conference has been moved from April 4 to April 11. The 35-year-old Matthysse and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya are supposed to be there for the press conference. We’ll see if that happens or not.

It’s unclear whether the investor money from investors in Malaysia will materialize or not. There’s a lot of speculation whether the money will be there to make the Matthysse vs. Pacquiao fight happen. If the fight does take place, it will likely attract a huge crowd in Malaysia. What’s unclear is what network the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight would take place on.

Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank has a deal with ESPN for his fighters to be shown on ESPN. However, supposedly is no longer with Arum, so it’s unclear which network will televise the Pacquiao vs. Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) fight if it takes place. Matthsse’s last fight against Tewa Kiram (38-1, 28 KOs) was televised on HBO Boxing After Dark on January 27 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Would HBO be interested in televising Pacquiao vs. Matthysse? Pacquiao could be seen by more boxing fans if he faces Matthysse on ESPN. If Pacquiao fights on ESPN, it would suggest that he might still be with Arum after all.

Pacquiao, 39, will be coming off of a 1-year layoff when/if he faces Matthysse on July 8 in Malaysia. In Pacquiao’s last performance, he was roughed up by a very physical Australian Jeff Horn in losing a 12 round unanimous decision in an ill-advised fight on July 2 in Brisbane, Australia. Pacquiao has been busy with his senatorial career in the Philippines since that fight.

Coming off of a layoff and a disappointing loss like the one he suffered against Horn, Pacquiao might not be at his best when or if he faces Matthysse in July. Being out of the ring for a year is hard for even younger fighters to deal with, but for someone that is nearing 40 like Pacquiao, it might be a real problem for him.

Pacquiao still has the punching power and more than enough speed to defeat Matthysse, but his conditioning will be a question mark in this fight. Further, Pacquiao’s punch resistance will be tested by Matthysse, who is the biggest puncher Pacquiao will have faced since his fight with Miguel Cotto in 2009. Can Pacquiao still handle the power of a big puncher at this point in his career? I don’t know. We’ll find that out IF this fight is actually put together.

There are a lot of skeptical people in the boxing world that don’t believe the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight will take place. If it doesn’t, then it remains to be seen where Pacquiao goes from here. Does he go back to Arum and agree to fight Mike Alvarado, a fighter the 86-year-old promoter was looking to match him up against on the undercard of the Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford fight.

Arum would likely be pleased to have Pacquiao back on the Horn-Crawford undercard. Perhaps Arum could potentially find someone else for Pacquiao to fight if he doesn’t want to face the 37-year-old past his prime Mike Alvarado on the Crawford-Horn undercard. Arum also promotes Konstantin Pomomarev. That would be a good option for Pacquiao. Agreeing to fight on an undercard would be a step down for Pacquiao from his glory days as Top Rank’s number one PPV attraction. Crawford and Horn aren’t PPV fighters. Fighting on the undercard would be hard for a proud fighter like Pacquiao to deal with, but if that’s all Top Rank has for him at this point, then what can he do.

Matthysse has a 2-fight winning streak going for him since his 10th round knockout loss to Viktor Postol in October 2015. Matthsse has come back from that loss to beat Emmanuel Taylor and Tewa Kiram by knockout. Matthysse won the vacant WBA ‘regular’ welterweight title with his 8th round knockout over Kiram on the 27th of January. There were some boxing fans who felt that Matthysse didn’t rate to be fighting for the vacant WBA World 147 lb. strap due to him having him fought just one time in the last two years.

Matthysse suffered an eye injury in his loss to Postol in 2015, and the injury kept him out of the ring until he fought Emmanuel Taylor on May 6, 2017. Matthysse stopped Taylor in the 5th round. Never the less, Matthysse had fought only 1 time in 2 years when he was given a shot by the world Boxing Association to fight for their vacant WBA ‘regular’ welterweight title against the little known 26-year-old Tewa Kirm of Thailand, who the WBA had rated No.1 with their organization. Kiram had zero wins over well-known fighters in boxing. Kiram surprisingly gave Matthysse a lot of problems with his jab and speed before he was ultimately knocked out by him in the 8th.

It would be a shame if Matthysse sends Pacquiao into retirement with a brutal knockout loss like what he did to Kiram in his last fight. Kiram was badly hurt by Matthysse. Pacquiao might have some issues handling the furious power of the Argentinian Matthysse. It doesn’t matter that Pacquiao hasn’t been knocked out in a while. Matthysse hits harder than Juan Manuel Marquez, and he knocked the Filipino star clean out in the 6th round in their fight in 2012.

Pacquiao is the one that picked out Matthysse for this fight. Pacquiao likes Matthysse’s fighting style, and he believes it’s a style that works well for him. That may be, but it could be the wrong fighter for Pacquiao at this point in his career. Matthysse hits very hard, and he does well against guys that come straight at him looking to slug it out. A prime Pacquiao would likely be too fast for Matthysse, but it’s been many years since Manny was in his prime.

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