Just imagine if Floyd Mayweather Jr. was offered a world title elimination bout against Mike Alvarado with a $20-million guaranteed purse, but the fight would be in the undercard of the Terence Crawford-Jeff Horn world welterweight title fight sanctioned by the World Boxing Organization?
Mayweather would surely hurl invectives and profanities at the promoters, and may denigrate Crawford and Horn as not being in his league. And woe to those who will engage him in a verbal tirade over social media.
Anyway, who is in his right mind would ask one of the greatest boxers of his era to fight in an undercard of a title fight between two boxers who have yet to prove they belong to the list of future Hall-of-Famers?
That’s what happened to our very own Manny Pacquiao more than three weeks ago, as he was being eyed to fight on April 14 in the undercard of the Crawford-Horn title fight. Instead of launching a verbal tirade against the fight promoters, Pacquiao opted to fight World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight (147 pounds) champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina in Kuala Lumpur this June.
That was a good move, and proved that Pacquiao, despite getting obviously “insulted,” is a true gentleman.
Even if Pacquiao can no longer command high pay-per-view numbers, Crawford or Horn have yet to prove themselves in terms of PPVs. So it really escaped my imagination as to why Pacquiao was eyed to fight in the undercard of the Crawford-Horn title fight. Bad move.
If Mayweather was in Pacquiao’s place, the American would have surely gone ballistic in social media and the boxing media would have blown the matter out of proportion.
Going to Pacquiao vs Matthysse, I believe the fight can be a solid draw because the Argentinian still has one of the most impressive knockout records in the non-heavyweight ranks: 39-4 with 36 KOs!
The Argentinian lost to quality opponents in Zab Judah and Devon Alexander (both by split decision in 2011), Danny Garcia (September 2013 by unanimous decision), and Viktor Apostol (10th round stoppage in October 2015).
Matthysse’s last two outings were stoppages over Emmanuel Taylor in May 2017 and Tewa Kiram last January.
Matthysse is ranked at No. 8 in The Ring welterweight list with Pacquiao at No. 6. The Argentinian has been in the welterweight rankings of the boxing magazine for 40 weeks and Pacquiao 70 weeks.
Even if he is 35 years old, it is very hard to write off Matthysse as past his prime or no longer having bombs in his hands. His recent stoppage win over Kiram for the vacant WBA welterweight title also proved he can take on up-and-coming contenders. Prior to getting stopped by Matthysse, Kiram’s record was 38-0 with 28 KOs.
Unfortunately, Matthysse’s aggressive style can make him an easy target for Pacquiao, who obviously has faster hands than the Argentinian.
The Filipino also has more championship experience since he was champion in eight different divisions, while Matthysse was a former champion at light welterweight (140 pounds).
But Pacquiao cannot afford to discount Matthysse because the Argentinian might be the hardest puncher the Filipino will be facing in many years. Besides, the Argentinian registering 36 knockouts from 39 wins is a big deal. That also makes the upcoming Pacquiao-Matthysse fight a big deal.