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Ariza thinks Pacquiao making mistake fighting Matthysse

Image: Ariza thinks Pacquiao making mistake fighting Matthysse

By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao’s old strength and conditioning trainer Alex Ariza believes that he’s making a mistake in fighting WBA World welterweight champion Lucas ‘La Maquina’ Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) in their fight on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Pacquiao-Matthysse will be on pay-per-view, according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum. Whether it deserves to be on PPV is another thing. Both fighters are faded at this point, and there might not be enough hardcore boxing fans that want to see this fight for it to be successful on pay television. Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence Jr. would be a much better fight for PPV than Pacquiao-Matthysse.

Ariza thinks it’s a bad style match-up for the 39-year-old Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs), because Matthysse has the same aggressive style as Jeff Horn, but with a lot more punching power. Ariza sees Matthysse as all wrong for Pacquiao, and he thinks he lacks a quality trainer to help him in this fight. Pacquiao recently dumped his longtime trainer Freddie Roach and replace him with Buboy Fernandez, who Ariza calls a “helper” rather than a trainer.

“Manny’s camp’s idea was to have him train as he did when he was 28. It just doesn’t work,” Alex Ariza said to Fighthype. “Your body doesn’t respond in the same way. They wanted to get away from the science and nutrition and just focus on boxing and got my team out. We saw what happened with that,” Ariza said.

There’s been a drop off in Pacquiao’s performances since he was elected into the senate in the Philippines. He’s not looked the same since then, which is understandable because he’s now spending a lot of time with the job. He can’t train like he used to because he’s got responsibilities. In hindsight, Pacquiao probably should have retired from boxing once he was elected into the senate.
Ariza notes that Pacquiao’s punch output has dropped off to only one-third to what it was during his prime of his career, and he blames it on his training.

Pacquiao’s punch output took a nosedive after he was knocked out in the 6th round by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. Pacquiao stopped fighting as relentlessly after that, and he took fewer chances in letting his hands go. I think it’s quite likely that Pacquiao hasn’t wanted to risk suffering another bad knockout loss. It’s not about what Pacquiao isn’t doing in training. I think it’s mostly Pacquiao appearing reluctant to throw a lot of punches like he used o because he could get clipped with something again.

Why Matthysse? That’s a style Manny doesn’t like. He doesn’t like to be roughed up,” Ariza said. ”He doesn’t like to be pushed around. You saw what happened with Horn. So why would you fight Matthysse with the same type of style and 10 times bigger puncher.”

Matthysse, 35, hits harder than Horn, but he is not as big as him and he doesn’t tend to rough up his opponents in the same way. Matthysse is a clean fighter. You won’t see him head-butting Pacquiao in every round on July 15 the way Horn was doing. . What Pacquiao has to worry about from Matthysse is his punches more so than getting roughed up. Matthysse isn’t going to rehydrate to around 170 like Horn. He’s a small welterweight. If Pacquiao loses to Matthysse, it’s going to be due to him getting nailed by his big power shots.

It’s a risky fight for Pacquiao because Matthysse represents the hardest puncher than he’ll have faced since the Marquez fight in 2012. If Pacquiao gets hit with too many of Matthysse’s hard shots, he could wind up getting stopped in the same way as the Argentinian’s last opponent Tewa Kiram. Matthysse didn’t hit Kiram very much in the fight until the 8th round. Matthysse knocked Kiram down twice in the 8th. The fight was stopped after the second knockdown. Matthysse didn’t look as sharp in the fight as he’d been years earlier, but his power was just as good. It’s his power that may prove to be too much for Pacquiao.

”The numbers don’t lie. Manny was an 800-1200 punch fighter if he didn’t get you out before that,” Ariza said. ”In Manny’s last fight, he threw 400 punches. We’re talking one-third of his punch rate for a few years. There’s a reason for that. He should have gotten Horn out of there. He hurt him. He knew it, but if you don’t have the confidence or if you start questioning yourself, ‘Do I need to save myself for the later rounds?’ That comes with training. They underestimated a guy [Horn] that was going to risk to the occasion. He’s never going to be exactly the same. You can’t expect a different outcome if you do the same thing. If you got an ‘F’ on something and you’re going to study the same way. You’re going to get an ‘F’ again.”

Pacquiao can’t throw punches like he used to if his overriding concern is not to get caught with a big incoming shot. Pacquiao has looked gun-shy in his last two fights against Horn and Jessie Vargas. I think it could be a lot worse against Matthysse, because he has the kind of punching power in both hands that ultimately could be too much for him. A knockout loss to Matthysse will be game over for Pacquiao. He’s not going to be able to come back from a loss like that at his age. If he was his early 30s, then it wouldn’t be as big deal. Pacquiao can’t afford another defeat on his record.

”He made the right move but not with the right people,” Ariza said about Pacquiao firing training Freddie Roach and replacing him with his assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez. “If he was going to make a move to Buboy, he should have stayed with Freddie. Their helpers,” Ariza said about Buboy. “You don’t have Tom Brady doing quarterback drills with the guy across the street. He’s still an elite athlete, and he needs to be overseen like an elite athlete.”

It almost sounds like Ariza is dropping a big hint that he wants Pacquiao to hire him to be his trainer for the Matthysse fight. Ariza did a good job when he was with Pacquiao, but he was still let go. I don’t know that Pacquiao has enough youth left to be effective even with Ariza training him. I think some of it is age, and the rest is mental with Pacquiao. If he’s afraid to attack Matthysse the way he would have done years ago, then it could be hard for him to win the fight.

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