Top Rank Promotion head Bob Arum believes that the world title bout between challenger Manny Pacquiao and reigning World Boxing Association welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is a pretty even fight.
But Arum warns that the younger Matthysse could be a dangerous opponent for the 39-year-old Pacquiao (59-7-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 knockouts).
“A very good run for his money and it’s a tough fight for Manny, but hopefully he will be successful,” Arum, 86, told The Manila Times through overseas call on Wednesday. “I think he (Pacquiao) has a very good chance, very good chance, but he got to train very hard.”
The 35-year-old Argentine fighter Matthysse is known for his knockout prowess.
Thirty-six of his 39 wins is by way of knockout including his last victory against Thai Tewa Kiram last January 27. Matthysse lost just four times in his entire pro career.
“And you know, maybe a couple of years ago, Manny would be a big favorite but now it is a pretty even fight,” added Arum, noting that Pacquiao remains one of the most popular fighters in the world despite the Filipino’s defeat to Australian Jeff Horn last year in Brisbane, Australia via a controversial unanimous decision.
“I think Manny is considered one of the best fighters in the world. But you know, as a fighter gets older, the younger fighters come up and they take their place. So Manny is still one of the best fighters in the world. And if he wins, he told me he wants to fight (Vasyl) Lomachenko who many people say is the best fighter in the world.”
Arum believes that Pacquiao’s stamina is still at par with Matthysse.
“Yeah I think so,” said Arum but quickly added that age is a liability in a sport like boxing.
“Athletics in any sports is a cruel business because when you get older, you don’t get better.”