Should Lucas Matthysse stay at welterweight?
May 9, 2017
LAS VEGAS – Most of the attention of the boxing world is fixated on the recent announcement of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) taking on Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 34 KOs) in September of this year. The announcement took place in the post-fight interview of the Canelo-Chavez Jr. bout. On the undercard of Canelo-Chavez Jr., Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse made his anticipated return to the ring.
Matthysse was out of the ring since October 2015 where he was stopped by the Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (28-1, 12 KOs) in the tenth round. Matthysse suffered an injury to his left eye in the fight with Postol keeping him out of the ring for almost two years. The Argentinean slugger was scheduled to return last May against Mauricio Herrera (23-7, 7 KOs) on the Canelo-Khan undercard, but was still suffering from his left eye injury.
Last Saturday, Matthysse stepped back in the ring against the always-tough Emmanuel Taylor (20-5, 14 KOs). With a new trainer in Joel Diaz known for his work with Timothy Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs), Matthysse looked as good as he ever has in stopping Taylor in the fifth round. The fight also took place at 147 pounds in the welterweight division. Besides the announcement of Canelo-GGG, Matthysse’s victory and performance was the highlight of the card.
With the win over Taylor at welterweight, Matthysse has a wide variety of options available to him. A move back down to 140-pounds may look less lucrative for Matthysse as the king of the division is the undefeated Terence Crawford (30-1, 21 KOs) who may be a bad style match up for the Argentinean. Many of the former champions at 140-pounds have moved up to the welterweight division leaving a lack of star power at 140. Postol has not been seen since his loss to Crawford last July.
The welterweight division gives Matthysse the opportunity to make bigger paydays, and at 34 years of age, this could be the last run of his career. A rematch with former opponent Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) would give Matthysse a chance at redemption. A fight with Adrien Broner (33-2, 24 KOs) could do good business as a pseudo-revenge bout for Broner who lost to Matthysse’s countryman the now retired Marcos Maidana (35-5, 31 KOs) in 2013.
Washington D.C.’s Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) whom Matthysse stopped in three rounds in 2013 currently holds the WBA ‘Regular’ championship at welterweight. If Peterson decides he wants a rematch against Matthysse, it would put Matthysse right in line for a title shot with unified welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs).
The man known as “The Machine” has different goals in the welterweight division. He has his eyes set on the biggest star in the division, Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs). Matthysse spoke with Fox Deportes about the possibility of facing Pacquiao in the future.
Pacquiao has a fight coming up this July against Australia’s Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 10 KOs) in Brisbane, Australia. The bout is seen as somewhat of a tune up for Pacquiao. Afterward, many are expecting for Pacquiao who holds the WBO welterweight championship to fight one of the fellow champions in the division specifically Keith Thurman or fellow Top Rank stablemate Terence Crawford.
Back in 2015 before his loss to Postol, Matthysse was thought to be next in line to face Pacquiao. The Argentinean would certainly be the biggest puncher Pacquiao has faced since stepping in the ring with Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) in 2012.
A potential Pacquiao-Matthysse fight if it takes place this year would be in the fall of 2017. If this is the direction both men are heading, Matthysse would be served well to get another quality victory under his belt. Regardless of a Pacquiao fight taking place for Matthysse the possibilities for new matchups at welterweight will make it worth his while to stay.
(Feature Photo: Imago7Sports)