Trainer Joel Diaz said that Manny Pacquiao could crumble against Lucas Matthysse’s heavy hands.
The Filipino ring icon and Diaz’s ward—the reigning World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight champion will clash on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Look, this is the thing: Manny Pacquiao has the speed, he has footwork and he has power too. But honestly, Manny Pacquiao is not a 147-pounder. He is a 135 and 140 pounder,” Diaz told The Manila Times in an overseas call.
“Lucas Matthysse has power. I believe Lucas Matthysse has the heavier hands than Juan Manuel Marquez.”
“In a little bit of exchanges of punches, it’s going to be hard for Manny Pacquiao to take a punch like that. He is no longer the young Pacquiao that can withstand power,” said Diaz, adding that he was a big fan of Pacquiao and had watched all of Pacman’s bouts including his four fights against the already retired Marquez.
“The last fight was, as you can see, Marquez is a great counter puncher and Marquez, when he was hitting, is waiting for the right opportunity and right time to land on Manny Pacquiao and Manny Pacquiao came in,” he said.
“So a fighter like Matthysse with a harder punch than Marquez is dangerous for Pacquiao.”
Diaz predicts that the Argentine pug’s power is the key to victory.
“Lucas is a heavy puncher, a very heavy puncher. I trained Lucas Matthysse for his last two fights and he is one of the heaviest hitters that I trained,” explained Diaz, who trained Matthysse when he scored his last two knockout wins against Emmanuel Taylor last May 6, 2017 and against Thai Tewa Kiram for the vacant WBA belt last January 27.
“All he needed was confidence to be better in the sport, something he never had. Lucas Matthysse never had the confidence in accordance to be the fighter he is now. I had words with Matthysse in his last two fights. By the third fight, he will be better now. He knows me and I know him. All he needs is the confidence to let go of his punches.”
Diaz reiterates that Pacquiao’s age would be a big factor in the fight.
“If Manny Pacquiao runs in to one of Lucas Matthysse’s right hand, he will get hurt because Lucas Matthysse has devastating power on his punches left and right. At this point of Manny Pacquiao’s career, he needs to be very careful. Because if he gets hit with a solid punch by Matthysse, he will be hurt.”
But Diaz admits that Pacquiao is still way too dangerous to be taken lightly.
“Manny is not an easy fighter, he’s smart fighter, he has speed on his hands. I believe anybody can knockout anybody. Pacquiao can knockout Matthysse, Lucas can knockout Pacquiao. It’s just a matter of who lands the best shot at the right time.”
“If Manny wins, I think Manny has really one or two more fights after. But if he loses, I think Manny Pacquiao has no more business in the sport of boxing. He is 39 now.”