By James Blears
Three weight division champion Humberto Soto, who is altitude training in the State of Mexico to get into contention to gain a fourth, says he’s going to draw on all of his experience and ring savvy to defeat Lucas Matthysse in a super lightweight clash.
A lot is at stake when the two meet at Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 23rd. Soto (58-7 with two draws and 34 Ko’s) is ranked at number two by the WBC. While Matthysse (30-2, 28 KO’s) is just two places lower. The Continental Americas belt is being contested. But both men appreciate this fight, and consider it a fast track stepping stone to a much bigger prize.
Soto, who just blazed through a ten round sparring session, says he’s happy to be training at a high altitude in the rarefied climes of Cuautitlan Izcalli, near to Mexico City, which is seven and a half thousand feet above sea level.
Normally a taciturn man, outside ring hours, Soto is more interested in his game plan, than being the underdog or favorite. He said: “Lucas is one of the strongest fighters in this division. He’s an aggressive fighter, with a very respectable punch. He’s fought against the best…but so have I. We’re both looking for big fights.
“I’m very disciplined and I have a great deal of experience. I also have maturity, but the key to winning this fight will be my intelligence. That also involves following the instructions of my corner. Winning a fight is a team factor.”
Soto is noticeably, and thankfully much more motivated than when he fought Brazilian Claudinei Lacerda in the Grand Oasis Hotel Area in Cancun, at the beginning of last month.
Defiant and eccentric, dancing the night away even before the first bell rang, but heaving few telling punches of his own, the durable Brazilian took a ten round pounding from Soto. He lost a lopsided unanimous decision, but never looked in danger of being knocked off his feet. Heavy handed Matthysse is a very different, difficult and a far more dangerous challenge.