WBA champ vows to fight with honor
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - April 16, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina said the other day facing ring icon Manny Pacquiao in the first defense of his title is a challenge that will open doors for bigger fights in the future and winning by knockout is the goal in his Asian debut.

“This is the fight I’ve always wanted,” said the 35-year-old Matthysse who is nicknamed The Machine because of his relentless and aggressive style. “The opportunity to fight a future Hall of Famer such as Pacquiao inspires me to work harder than ever to earn a victory for my fans. I know that it will not be easy. But I will defend my title with honor and represent my country Argentina with pride.” Matthysse’s statement was sent to MP Promotions media director Winchell Campos through Golden Boy public relations director Ramiro Gonzalez and coordinator Gabriel Rivas with the approval of chief operating officer Robert Gasparri. 

Matthysse has never fought outside of the Americas, logging 15 bouts in the US, once in Mexico and the rest in Argentina to compile a record of 39-4, including 36 KOs. His four losses were to Devon Alexander and Zab Judah by split decision, Danny Garcia by unanimous decision and Viktor Postol by knockout and they were all on US soil. The defeat to Postol, a former Pacquiao sparmate, was particularly devastating in 2015 as it left Matthysse with a fractured left orbital bone. That led to a 19-month layoff but Matthysse has since recovered to chalk up two wins, including an eighth round stoppage of Thailand’s Teerachai Kratingdaeng Gym or Tewa Kiram to claim the vacant WBA 147-pound throne at the Forum in Inglewood, California, last January.

Pride is something that is imbedded in Matthysse’s history and it’s a recurring theme in tattoos all over his body. He ran away from home as a teenager to pursue a boxing career and worked tirelessly to uphold the family tradition in boxing. His father Walter, mother Doris and sister Soledad were former fighters. Matthysse learned the ropes with another Argentine prospect Marcos Maidana who would later battle Floyd Mayweather twice. Together, Matthysse and Maidana rose from the ranks to become world beaters.

Argentina and the Philippines share a long history of world title bouts. Three Filipinos lost in world championship fights in Argentina – Leo Espinosa to Pascual Perez in 1956, Morris East to Juan Martin Coggi in 1993 and Rexon Flores to Omar Narvaez in 2006. Johnriel Casimero broke the losing streak with a 10th round knockout over Luis Lazarte in an interim IBF lightflyweight title bout that was marred by a riot in Mar del Plata in 2012. 

Two Argentinians came to fight in the Philippines with Perez outpointing Dommy Ursua to retain his world flyweight crown at the Rizal Memorial in 1958 and Vicente Derado bowing to Flash Elorde via a majority verdict in a world junior lightweight title bout at the Araneta Coliseum in 1966. Last February, Donnie Nietes stopped Argentina’s Juan Carlos Reveco in the seventh round to defend his IBF flyweight title at the Forum. Matthysse, a tattoo artist, has left his imprint on Reveco’s body.

Most of Matthysse’s own tattoos were self-made. There is a large Argentine map on his back and on his chest are the words “Juremos con Gloria morir” or in English, “let us swear to die with glory.” Matthysse comes from a long line of Argentine boxing legends, including Carlos Monzon, Perez, Sergio Martinez, Oscar Bonavena, Victor Galindez and Luis Angel Firpo. It’s Argentina’s legacy as a world boxing power that Matthysse is determined to preserve in battling Pacquiao.

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