Pacquiao says Matthysse fight still on for July 15
By Chris Williams: Former eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao says his fight against WBA ‘regular’ welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse WILL be taking as planned for July 15. There’s been a lot of talk about the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight being in jeopardy due to financial problems. Pacquiao’s former promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank isn’t certain that the fight will take place because of missed deadlines for the money needed to make it happen.
If the contest doesn’t happen, Arum is interested in putting together a unification fight between Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) and WBO champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford.
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) and his promoters at Pacquiao Promotions are the lead promoter in the July 15 fight at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“The fight will proceed as scheduled,” Pacquiao said to The Philippine Star. “I am training hard for the fight and I never allow any distraction to destroy my focus.”
Pacquiao is saying the fight with Matthysse is still on for July 15, but it remains to be seen whether that’s going to happen. If the financial commitments aren’t met, it’s hard to imagine the Pacquiao vs. Matthysse fight will take place on the scheduled date.
There’s really not a lot of interest from the boxing public in the July 15th Matthysse vs. Pacquiao fight. Not too many people will care if Pacquiao doesn’t wind up facing Matthysse on the 15th of July. The problem is Matthysse is the secondary World Boxing Association 147 lb. champion, not the primary belt holder with that sanctioning body. Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is considered the main champion for the WBA, and he hasn’t fought in close to a year and a half.
Unquestionably, Pacquiao’s decision to challenge the 35-year-old Matthysse for the WBA world title is a weak move on his part, as there are arguably better options than him to at welterweight. Pacquiao could have selected IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. or Thurman to fight for a world title. The fan interest in a fight between Pacquiao and Spence would have been considerable.
Pacquiao isn’t saying what his backup plan is if his fight with Matthysse goes up in smoke. Arum would be more than pleased to put together a fight between Pacquiao and Crawford if the 39-year-old Filipino star gives him the green light to make the match. Arum obviously isn’t going to hold his breath waiting for Pacquiao to take a fight against Crawford. Apart from Crawford and Matthysse, Pacquiao could push to face the winner of the Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter fight. Pacquiao will need to wait until later this year before he gets a shot at the winner of that fight. That’s not an ideal situation for Manny. Pacquiao hasn’t fought since July of 2017, when he lost to Jeff Horn by a 12 round unanimous decision.