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Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse signed for July 14!

Lucas Matthysse Manny Pacquiao

By Chris Williams: Oscar De La Hoya has announced that Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse fight is officially a done deal for July 14 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is a fight that many boxing fans thought wouldn’t happen, but with the help of Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions, they were able to get this great match-up across the finish line.

It’s unclear whether Pacquiao vs. Matthysse will be on pay-per-view. Pacquiao doesn’t have the same huge fan base since his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015. He brought in a fair amount of PPV buys in his third fight with Tim Bradley in 2016, but his fight after that against Jessie Vargas failed interest the boxing public, and then his last fight against Jeff Horn was on ESPN rather than on PPV.

It was not a fight that could be solid on PPV, because Horn was an unknown with the U.S. boxing fans.

Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) will be looking to resurrect his stalled out career by fighting for Matthysse’s WBA World welterweight title. Pacquiao, 39, hasn’t fought for a years since his 12 round unanimous decision defeat to Jeff Horn on July 2 in Brisbane, Australia.

Pacquiao will be without his long time trainer Freddie Roach when he faces Matthysse. As lost as Roach looked in Pacquiao’s last fight against Jeff Horn, I don’t think he’ll miss having him in his corner. Pacquiao will be trained by Buboy Fernandez for this fight.

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“That’s Manny’s decision. Manny has told me Buboy will be handling the training on this fight,” Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz said to “What’s important to Manny is that he has one voice to listen to in the corner that he trusts, and I guess that’s Buboy for this fight.”

Pacquiao hasn’t been able to get time free from his senatorial job in the Philppines. Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) makes his first defense of his WBA ‘regular’ 147 lb. title that he won earlier this year on January 27 in stopping Tewa Kiram in the 8th round. Matthysse is the WBA’s lower level champion. Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is viewed by many as the World Boxing Association’s true welterweight title.

Perhaps that will change if the WBA ever orders Matthysse and Thurman to face each other. Pacquiao can insert himself in the equation by defeating Matthysse on July 14 to become the new WBA ‘regular’ welterweight strap holder. There’s also a chance that Thurman might wind up getting stripped by the WBA if they decide that he’s missing too much time with his frequent injuries and long periods of inactivity.

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The location of the Pacquiao vs. Matthysse fight will make it difficult for a lot of U.S boxing fans to see the fight, aside from on TV. It’s likely to be televised on ESPN, as that’s the network that Top Rank has a deal with for their fighters to be shown.

The Matthysse vs. Pacquiao fight would have been ideal if it took place 7 years ago before Pacquiao started to go downhill as a fighter. Pacquiao’s career hasn’t regained the status where it was in 2011. Things started going downhill for Pacquiao in 2012 with his back to back losses to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.

It wasn’t just those defeats that hurt Pacquiao’s career. It was the match-making in response to the defeats by Pacquiao’s promoters at Top Rank. They wasted time with Pacquiao by matching him against Brandon Rios, Jessie Vargas, Chris Algieri, Bradley in a needless third fight, and then Horn. All those wasted fights for Pacquiao. His career stalled out due to the match-making more than anything. The only good fight Pacquiao has had since 2013 was his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015.

Pacquiao’s record in his last four fights is 2-2. That’s not too good, but he was injured against Mayweather in 2015, and his loss to Horn in 2017 was arguably a robbery with Pacquiao losing what many in the boxing world saw as a hometown decision. The good news is Pacquiao won’t be fighting in his opponent’s hometown on July 15 with the fight taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. If Pacquiao loses to Matthysse, it’s because he fought a guy with more youth and power than himself.

Matthysse is a knockout artist, who usually wins by stoppages. If Matthysse is going to win this fight, it’s going to be due to his punching power more than anything. It would be a sad way for Pacquiao to end his career if he’s knocked out by Matthysse. It’s doubtful that Pacquiao will want to continue his boxing career if he gets knocked out by the Argentinian. It would be Pacquiao’s second straight loss, and his third defeat in his last five fights. If that’s not a sign that it’s over for the Filipino star then I don’t know what would be.

Despite the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight being announced by Golden Boy Promotions boss De La Hoya, there’s still a lot of skepticism whether the fight will actually take place. A lot of the boxing fans are finding it hard to believe that the fight is taking place, because of the difficulties Pacquiao had in putting the fight together.

There was talk that Pacquiao was no longer with Top Rank, and that he’s dumped his trainer Freddie Roach in favor of Buboy Fernandez, his longtime assistant manager. More than anything what made boxing fans doubt the fight would happen is how bad Pacquiao looked in his last fight with Horn, and how he stayed out of the ring for a year after that loss. If Pacquiao had beaten Horn and looked sensational, then the people would be ecstatic about the news of him facing Matthysse for his WBA 147 lb. strap. Unfortunately looked terrible in losing to Horn last year, and that’s what the fans have been focusing on. They think Pacquiao has deteriorated and is over the hill at 39.

Pacquiao is going to have to keep his hands up to make sure he doesn’t let Matthysse land too many of his power shots, because he might not be able to handle his heavy hands. Matthysse looked very rusty in his fight with Tewa Kiram last January, but there was nothing wrong with his punching power.

Matthysse looked just as powerful in that fight as he always has. What made Matthysse look so bad was his foot and hand speed, as well as his accuracy with his punches. Matthysse was missing with a lot of his shots, and he looked his age at 35. Matthysse will need to look a little better against Pacquiao if he doesn’t want to get beaten. The good thing that Matthysse has going for him is Pacquiao looked even worse than he did in his last fight.

Pacquiao would receive a lot more favorable attention from boxing fans for fighting for a world title if he took on the well-respected Keith Thurman or IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. Those are the guys that fans and media recognize as the best of the champions in this weight class. Matthysse is just seen as a paper champion, and not the real McCoy.

If Pacquiao can win his fight, he’ll option of looking to face the likes of Danny Garcia, Spence, Thurman or Shawn Porter. However, Pacquiao has mentioned wanting to fight lightweight Vasyl Lomachenko. That would be a huge move up in weight for Lomachenko if he decides to move up to 147 to face Pacquiao for the WBA regular welterweight title. I can’t see him agreeing to take that fight. In an ideal world, Pacquiao will beat Matthysse and then face Danny Garcia, Thurman or Spence. I don’t think any of those fights are going to happen unfortunately. Pacquiao will probably end up fighting Lomachenko or Jeff Horn or maybe even Terence Crawford.

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