Minor details left to seal Kuala Lumpur bout

Lucas ‘The Machine’ Matthysse michellejoyphelps.com

Minor details left to seal Kuala Lumpur bout

Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - March 8, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Manny Pacquiao is headed to Kuala Lumpur to challenge WBA welterweight champion Lucas (The Machine) Matthysse of Argentina in a 12-round bout in late June after the Ramadan and from all indications, it looks like the fight is a done deal with only a few minor details left to iron out.

A reliable source said Matthysse has agreed to terms to stake his crown against Pacquiao who has won world titles in eight divisions since turning pro in 1995. Matthysse, 35, captured the vacant WBA championship via an eighth round stoppage of Thai Teerachai Kratingdaeng Gym at the Forum in Inglewood last Jan. 27. It will be Matthysse’s first defense of the throne.

Matthysse is a vicious puncher with a knockout rate of 92 percent. His record is 39-4, with 36 KOs. Among the fighters whom Matthysee has sent to the canvas are Teerachai twice, Emmanuel Taylor twice, Lamont Peterson thrice, Zab Judah once, DeVon Alexander once, DeMarcus Corley nine times, Humberto Soto once and Rogelio Castaneda thrice. But Matthysse sometimes pays a hefty price for his all-out aggressiveness. He was counted out on one knee in a bitter loss to Viktor Postol in 2015, went down twice in a brawl with John Molina Jr. and once in losing to Danny Garcia. He has also been badly cut around the left eye in two fights.

Former two-time world champion Gerry Peñalosa said if ever the fight pushes through, Pacquiao must be totally focused in training because Matthysse is an extremely dangerous opponent with dynamite power in both hands. 

“To be honest, Manny has to be 100 percent in top shape for Matthysse,” said Peñalosa. “Matthysse is heavy-handed. But he’s slow and easy to hit. He likes to engage so Manny shouldn’t find it difficult to connect. There’s just a few years difference in their age so that won’t be a factor. Manny hasn’t fought since last July and Matthysse just fought in January so he’s been more active. If Manny agrees to fight Matthysse, there’s no turning back. He has to commit himself to training hard.”

There is talk that a Malaysian financier has put up a $30 Million budget for a card to be headlined by the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight. Pacquiao, 39, was also offered to fight in the undercard of the Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford main event in Las Vegas on April 14 and to face an opponent of his choice in Manila. But the Malaysian deal was too sweet to turn down.  

Kuala Lumpur was the site of the world heavyweight title bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Bugner in 1975. But after the milestone event, boxing went to sleep in Malaysia until unbeaten cruiserweight Muhamad Farkhan brought it back to life in Johore Bahru in January last year. A 10-fight card was held in Kuala Lumpur last July with Filipino Carlo Magali stopping India’s Sandeep Balhara for the interim OPBF superfeatherweight title in the headliner. Farkhan was back in action in Johore Bahru last September. If the Matthysse-Pacquiao fight happens, it will be Malaysia’s first world title match in 43 years.

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