Pacquiao: Matthysse favorite
Despite his popularity and credentials, Manny Pacquiao believes Lucas Matthysse will be the favorite when they dispute the Argentine’s World Boxing Association welterweight crown on July 15 (July 14 in the US) in Kuala Lumpur.
“I’m the underdog in this fight but I’m used to it. It serves as a big motivation for me to train and fight hard to win the crown,” Pacquiao, the sport’s only eight-division world champion, told AFP news agency.
Matthysse took the vacant 147-pound title with a unanimous decision over Thai Teerachai Sithmorseng in January, while Pacquiao yielded the World Boxing Organization welterweight belt to Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane last July.
The showdown between the two aging warriors—Pacquiao is 39 and Matthysse 35—was confirmed by both camps via social media on Tuesday.
“Signed, sealed and delivered: Proud to officially announce that WBA welterweight world champion @MatthysseLucas will put his title on the line against @mannypacquiao in Kuala Lumpur, Malyasia on Saturday night July 14 (US time),” wrote Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions who handles Matthysse, on his Twitter account.
Pacquiao responded though his Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.
“It’s on! Can’t wait to challenge Lucas Matthysse for another world title on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malyasia—July 14 US time #Pacmanisback.”
Malaysia was misspelled Malyasia in both instances.
Originally set for June 24, Pacquiao-Matthysse was moved to July 15 because of the Muslim fasting period Ramadan, which is set May 16 to June 14 this year.
The Philippine senator said he’s bracing for a tough fight, Matthysse being a knockout artist. He has started light training to shed off ring rust.
Though Pacquiao was also known for his punching prowess, the future Hall of Famer with a 59-win (38 knockouts), 7-loss, 2-draw record has failed to knock out an opponent since 2009.
Matthysse totes a 39-4 win-loss slate with 36 KOs. —ROY LUARCA