Boxing icon Sen. Manny Pacquiao poses with WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse to promote their July 15 title fight in Kuala Lumpur during a news conference at the City of Dreams in Parañaque City yesterday.
Jun Mendoza
Matthysse: 'This is my time'
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - April 19, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After enduring 30 hours traveling from his hometown in Argentina, World Boxing Association welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse said that Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao’s time is over and he’s ready to die to defend his crown in Kuala Lumpur in July.

Matthysse and his entourage arrived early yesterday morning from his home in Chubut, Argentina via Los Angeles to drum up the coming title bout with Pacquiao in the Malaysian capital on July 15.

“This is my time,” said the heavily tattooed, 35-year-old fighter with 36 knockouts in 39 wins at the packed ballroom, which included top diplomats from Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, in the City of Dreams yesterday. He arrived for the press conference in a barong, which he said was bought at a nearby mall.

But Pacquiao, who is taking a break from his duties as a senator to prepare for probably one of his last fights, insisted that “my time has not yet over” following a tremendous career that netted him record titles in eight weight divisions.

“My time’s not over yet,” said Pacquiao, drawing loud cheers from his rabid supporters by the stage.

“I want to prove that Manny Pacquiao is not done with boxing yet. I will not predict the fight but I will do my best,” he added.

Still, the reigning champion’s camp maintained Matthysse is due for the big win and that Pacquiao is way past his prime.

“This is Matthysse’s time. Pacquiao’s time is over,” said the Argentine champion’s manager Mario Arano.

There’s reason for the Argentinian champ to think so.

“Since the Juan Manuel Marquez knockout (in 2012), Manny Pacquiao was never the same fighter again. He’s not in his prime anymore,” said Matthysse.

Pacquiao, he said, has done a lot in boxing and has achieved a feat that will be very difficult to match or surpass – winning world titles in eight weight classes.

“Manny has won so many titles. I only have one. I’m not going to give it up. I will die if I have to,” he said.

Prompted to react, the Filipino senator said he will try to go for the knockout, something he hasn’t achieved in nearly a decade.

“If I have the chance to finish it right away I will finish it,” he said.

Matthysse said a few days ago he will knock Pacquiao out and send him to retirement.

The superstar, who will turn 40 in December, has not fought since July last year, when he flew to Brisbane and yielded his WBO welterweight crown to a former school teacher.

But Pacquiao said he still has it in him.

“I’m not done yet. But whatever happens, I will accept it. I think we will win in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

Pacquiao has bigger plans for this year, and that includes an explosive matchup with Ukrainian pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko.

If he gets past Matthysse, he wants that fight to happen in November.

“My plan is to fight here in Manila. Maybe against Lomachenko or anybody but here in Manila,” he said.

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