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Matthysse looks to send Pacquiao into retirement on Sat.

Image: Matthysse looks to send Pacquiao into retirement on Sat.

By Chris Williams: Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) will be trying to send former eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) into retirement on Saturday night in their fight at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Matthysse puts his WBA World welterweight title on the line against an aging 39-year-old Pacquiao.

If Matthysse can be the fighter that sends Pacquiao into retirement with a knockout victory, he’ll be remembered by boxing fans long after he retires one day. Matthyse will never accomplish the things that Pacquiao did in his career in capturing eight division world titles, and making millions. But if Matthysse can be the fighter that sends Pacquiao into retirement, he’ll be immortalized.

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At 35, Matthysse doesn’t have too much time left in his career. Pacquiao is the favorite in the fight, but that doesn’t mean much. He’s been out of the ring for one year since his loss to Jeff Horn last year. Pacquiao being picked as the favorite by the odds-makers means nothing. They picked Pacquiao to beat Horn, and ye still lost the fight. The odds-makers are picking Pacquiao out of habit from the things that he did many years ago.

The fact of the matter is Pacquiao has been on the slide since 2012. It’s been a fairly rapid slide for Pacquiao. He looked bad in beating Jessie Vargas in 2016. When Pacquiao fought Horn, it clear how badly he had deteriorated. Horn is a mediocre middleweight, and Pacquiao made him look good in losing to him. Pacquiao shouldn’t be the favorite in this fight because he’s clearly not fighting at a high enough level to beat Matthysse. The your off from boxing will not have helped Pacquiao’s fading skills. Boxing isn’t a sport that you can treat as a part time sport.

Matthysse has done well in coming back an eye injury he suffered three years ago against Viktor Postol in 2015. Matthysse was beaten by Postol after suffering the eye injury in the 10th. The two never fought each other in a rematch, which is too bad. A healthy Matthysse might have been able to avenge his loss to Postol.

Matthysse stopped Tewa Kiram with a single shot in round 8 last January to win the vacant WBA ‘regular’ welterweight title. What was impressive about that performance is Matthysse was able to end the fight suddenly in the 8th round after he had struggled in the first seven rounds with the height, reach and movement of the 28-year-old Kiram.

“I feel good I have that ability to end the fight with a shot like that, but either way, I still prepare hard in the day-to-day workouts to give a good fight,” Matthysse said to the “Absolutely. I feel confident.”

If Matthysse is able to connect with a big shot on Pacquiao, he can stop him in the same way he did Kiram. Pacquiao isn’t invincible when it comes to taking hard shots. We saw that in his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. The knockout wasn’t a fluke thing. First, Marquez knocked Pacquiao down in round 3, and then three rounds later, he knocked him clean out in the 6th round. With the power that Marquez had going for him in that fight, he was going to knock Pacquiao out sooner or later. Pacquiao simply couldn’t handle his punching power. Marquez was going to get to Pacquiao eventually, and it would have ended the same exact way with the Filipino star getting knocked unconscious. Matthysse is a better puncher than Marquez was during his career, and he’s skilled and hunting down and knocking out his opponents. Pacquiao is going to be hunted on Saturday night, and it’s going to be bad for him if he can’t stay on the run.

If this was Matthysse fighting a younger fighter like Errol Spence, he would likely be heading towards a loss on Saturday. Fortunately for Matthysse, he’s facing a completely shot Pacquiao, and all he needs to do is keep from letting the older fighter outsmart him. Pacquiao has a lot of tricks up his sleeves that he can use against Matthysse. Of course, I won’t matter what Pacquiao plans on doing. He’s

Pacquiao will have the advantage in foot speed in this fight. Some boxing fans believe Pacquiao’s foot and hand speed will be too much for Matthysse. I don’t think so. Pacquiao’s ability to move in his last fight against Horn was totally compromised by his age. Pacquiao’s movement was slow enough for Jeff Horn to catch up to him with ease and punish him. Pacquiao used to be a good mover, but his legs have been slowing down for many years. Now he’s basically a guy that moves in straight lines, either backwards or forwards. The angles that Pacquiao used to employ in his fights are long gone. Pacquiao is not a mover anymore. He’s there to be hit, and that’s going to be bad news for him when she gets hit by Matthysse. If Pacquiao can take the kind of punishment Ruslan Provodnikov took in his fight against Matthysse in 2015, then he’ll have a chance to win the fight.

Pacquiao has a chance of fighting Vasyl Lomachenko if he wins this fight on Saturday. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum wants to match Pacquiao against Lomachenko in November or December if he gets past Matthysse. That fight might be one of the more winnable big money matches Pacquiao can make. He’s not going to beat Terence Crawford, Errol Spence or the winner of the Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter fight. He’s also not likely to beat Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman either if he ever returns to the ring.

Pacquiao is going to handicapped without his trainer Freddie Roach, who he parted ways with recently in favor of his former helper Buboy Fernandez. Pacquiao’s job as a senator in the Philippines takes up all his time. The inactivity isn’t good for a fighter his age.

Pacquiao vs. Matthysse will be on ESPN+ instead of PPV, which is understandable because the boxing fans in the U.S have not shown a lot of interest in this fight. Pacquiao is no longer seen as a top level fighter by the knowledgable boxing fans. The casual fans are more interested in seeing fighters like Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin than Pacquiao.

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