Gibbons predicts slam-bang showdown
(The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Las Vegas matchmaker Sean Gibbons described WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina as a dangerous opponent because of his raw punching power but said Sen. Manny Pacquiao, if he’s in tip-top condition, should win when they clash in Kuala Lumpur on June 24.

Gibbons, who arrived in Manila last Tuesday to finalize details of IBF superflyweight titleholder Jerwin Ancajas’ defense against No. 1 contender Jonas Sultan only to learn the fight set in Las Vegas on April 14 has been postponed, said Matthysse will stand his ground and engage without resorting to dirty tactics like Jeff Horn.

“Manny wasn’t prepared for the physicality that Horn brought to the ring when they fought in Brisbane last July,” said Gibbons. “If Horn was warned early not to elbow, butt and do all those things that he did to Manny, no way he could’ve won. Matthysse is a different kind of fighter. He won’t do a Horn.”

When Matthysse faced Thailand’s Teerachai Kratingdaeng Gym for the vacant WBA welterweight crown at the Forum in Inglewood early this year, he had some shaky moments. Matthysse suffered a cut near his left eye in the fourth and regrouped to score an eighth round stoppage. Teerachai went down twice before referee Raul Caiz, Sr. stepped in. Matthysse was behind on one of the three judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage.

“The Thai gave Matthysse a boxing lesson in the first few rounds and looked like he was on the way to win until the referee disallowed the stuff he sniffed in between rounds,” said Gibbons. Former WBC lightflyweight champion Rodel Mayol, who was in Teerachai’s corner, said the stuff was like a white flower balm.

“Matthysse will find it difficult to handle Manny’s quickness,” said Gibbons. “When he fought Danny Garcia in 2013, Matthysse was kept off-balance with side-to-side movement. Danny floored him in the 11th round and won by unanimous decision. Danny showed how to beat Matthysse. You can’t move around if you’ve got two left feet. What makes Matthysse dangerous is his power. He turned things around in the Teerachai fight by scoring two knockdowns.”

Gibbons said Pacquiao was at his deadliest in the 140-pound division. But when Pacquiao moved up to 147, bigger opponents could take his power so that he hasn’t scored a knockout since halting Miguel Cotto in 2009 or a streak of 13 fights. Matthysse, however, isn’t a full-fledged 147-pounder. In 2015, he weighed 139 1/2 pounds in losing to Viktor Postol on a knockout. He suffered a fractured left orbital bone, underwent surgery and took a 19-month hiatus before returning to action in May last year. He has fought his last two bouts at 147.

Gibbons said if Pacquiao is in peak form, there’s no way Matthysse can beat him. “Manny has won world titles in eight divisions, nobody’s ever done that,” he said. “Guys are celebrating when they win titles in four divisions. There’s nobody like Manny.” Oscar de la Hoya retired with titles in six divisions and Floyd Mayweather in five.

Matthysse, 35, has a puncher’s chance and can win with a single blow in an accident the same way Juan Manuel Marquez poleaxed Pacquiao in Las Vegas in 2012. He has scored 36 KOs in compiling a 39-4 record. Pacquiao, 39, can’t be too careful against the Argentinian.

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