Golden Boy Promotions Chief Oscar De La Hoya recently announced on Twitter Manny Pacquiao’s face-off with Lucas Matthysse for the WBA welterweight title on July 14 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For a couple of months or so, contractual issues seemed to have put the bout on wobbly legs, but those issues have finally been sorted out.
This will be Manny’s first time since the Stone Age to fight outside the Top Rank banner. Bob Arum won’t be totally out of the picture, however, as his company will be in charge of the fight’s broadcast in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. One mainstay who won’t be in Team Pacquiao’s corner is Manny’s longtime coach, Freddie Roach. According to the camp, there’s no call-up for Roach simply because the eight-division champ wanted give his old buddy, Buboy Fernandez, a chance to shine as a main trainer.
Now, enough with the nitty-gritty stuff and let’s focus on the biggest, most obvious question that needs to be answered: Who is Lucas Matthysse?
Within the boxing realm, Matthysse is pretty well-known, but beyond it, he’s as famous as your barangay’s amateur singing champion. Nevertheless, whether you’ve heard of him or not, we figured it would all serve us right to do a scouting report on Manny’s next opponent.
Let’s begin with how to say his last name correctly.
Wrong pronunciations of Matthysse: Mathis, Mathi-say, Ma-tease
Correct pronunciation of Matthysse: Math-ee-seh
Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse is a 35-year-old slugger from Argentina. With booming power from both hands and an unrelenting, high-pressure fighting style, he was able to capture an interim world title at super lightweight and now, a portion of the WBA welterweight championship. La Maquina’s record currently stands at 39W– 4L–36KOs. As his knockout percentage suggests, for a 5'6 1/2" dude, Matthysse definitely packs a whole lot of firepower.
Matthysse has had signature wins over high quality opposition. He was able to outslug Russian Terminator Ruslan Provodnikov. He had stopped former top contenders, Tewa Keram, Humberto Sotto, and John Molina, Jr. But perhaps his best showing came in 2013, when he knocked out then highly touted super lightweight, Lamont Peterson, inside three rounds. If you want know how devastating this Argentine punching machine can be, check out his KO victories over those boxers mentioned above.
Of Matthysse’s four losses, two were controversial. Both of them split-decision defeats to former champions Zab Judah and Devon Alexander. His other two setbacks came against Danny Garcia, whom he lost to via close unanimous decision after getting knocked down late in the fight, and Viktor Postol, who had dealt him the only knockout loss of his career. In the Postol fight, Matthysse was forced to quit on his knee after getting his eye injured by straight punches from his opponent. As a result, Matthysse underwent surgery and sat out a year and a half to recuperate. Controversial or not, all four of these losses were Matthysse’s biggest fights at those moments and all four times, he came up short. That sort of thing makes you wonder if La Maquina is one of those fighters who is very good, but just lacks that one little thing in order to be great.
No doubt, Matthysse’s biggest strength is his power. Get caught flush with either hand, we don’t care who you are, you’d surely be dazed and would probably hear that Mortal Kombat voice saying, “Finish Him!” as Matthysse charges towards you. If his opponent is not deft enough defending against pressure fighters, Lucas’ aggressive, non-stop stalking tactic can set up the knockout victory as well.
For all the power he’s got, Matthysse is a one-dimensional fighter. He’s got one game plan and that is to attack his opponent head on. Once it doesn’t work, he’s lost in the ring, eyes looking desperate as he tries to catch his opponent to no avail. Mathysse will definitely have a hard time finding the target against skillful boxers. Once those master pugilists figure out Matthysse’s tendencies, timing and distance, we highly doubt if the Argentine knockout artist can even make the right adjustments.
Can he beat Manny?
During his heyday, Pacquiao would’ve boxed circles around Matthysse. But now that PacMan is already 39 and undeniably on the decline, Matthysse might just have enough explosiveness in him to catch the former off guard. Having said that, we can’t put our money on La Maquina just yet. We still believe Pacquiao’s smarts, experience, and boxing ability are enough to get past Lucas Matthysse’s power.