Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse is Now Official
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: April 03, 2018
Golden Boy Promotions CEO and former six-division world champion Hall-of-Famer Oscar De La Hoya announced yesterday via his social media that Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) will make his return to the ring against Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs). It will be the first fight for Pacquiao since last July when he lost a controversial decision to Jeff Horn in Australia.
This past January Matthysse won the first world title of his career when he stopped Thailand’s Tewa Kiram in the eighth round. The Argentinean slugger won the ‘Regular’ version of the WBA welterweight title that night giving the Filipino Senator an opportunity to add another world championship to his collection.
For almost the entirety of this decade, Pacquiao has put more focus into his political career in his native Philippines. To accommodate Pacquiao as to not interfere with any of his senatorial duties, the bout against Matthysse will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the tentative date of July 14. Although past his prime with his popularity on the decline, Pacquiao is one of the few fighters in boxing that is a real international star. The eight-division champion has fought in six different countries (Philippines, Thailand, Japan, China, United States, and Australia) throughout his career. The bout with Matthysse in Malaysia will be the seventh country the Pac-Man will have stepped inside the squared circle in.
One of the biggest takeaways from the Pacquiao-Matthysse announcement is that Top Rank will only be distributing the fight. Pacquiao’s own promotional company MP Promotions will take the lead in the promotion of the bout. The other striking development is that longtime trainer Freddie Roach will not train Pacquiao for his match against Matthysse. Roach has worked the Filipino’s corner since 2001 spanning 34 fights. Pacquiao and his team have stated that they have no issues with Top Rank. Pacquiao has said that he looks forward to possibly facing two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) should he come out victorious against Matthysse.
However, since the fight with Horn in Australia, there has been a disconnect between the former eight-division champion and his longtime promoter and trainer. Taking over Roach will be Pacquiao’s childhood friend Buboy Fernandez who has been a steady figure in the Filipino's corner for the entirety of his career. There has been no communication between Roach and Pacquiao since the bout with Horn. During the aftermath of the fight, there was a sense of loyalty and trust that was broken.
Pacquiao-Matthysse will be distributed by Top Rank and ESPN either on the sports networks new APP or possibly on pay-per-view. Matthysse will be the most dangerous puncher Pacquiao will have faced since Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. Whatever happens on the night Pacquiao steps in the ring against Matthysse it will be interesting to see the direction the Pac-Man’s career will take afterward.
(Featured Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank)