By Keith Idec
Lucas Matthysse’s last two trips for fights in the United States resulted in debatable split-decision defeats to former junior welterweight champions Zab Judah and Devon Alexander.
Matthysse maintains, however, that he was “robbed” in the fights that resulted in the only two losses on his professional record. The heavy-handed Argentine contender thus feels he cannot allow his 12-round fight against Humberto Soto to go to the scorecards Saturday night in Los Angeles.
“I expect to win by KO,” Matthysse, 29, said. “I think I was robbed against Zab Judah and Devon Alexander in the United States, so expect a KO. I don’t want it going to the judges on Saturday, so expect a good fight.”
Matthysse (30-2, 28 KOs) has knocked out 88 percent of his professional opponents, but Mexico’s Soto (58-7-2, 34 KOs, 1 NC) has been stopped within the distance just once in a 15-year pro career he began at the age of 17. That hasn’t happened since his May 2000 fight against Hector Javier Marquez was stopped in the 11th round.
The 32-year-old Soto also has lost five fights by decision and one by disqualification, but the former WBC lightweight, super featherweight and featherweight champion is convinced he’ll extend his four-year, 15-fight winning streak against Matthysse in this WBC 140-pound elimination match.
“Matthysse is a great fighter, with a very [respectable] power punch,” Soto said. “I’m going to fight a very intelligent fight. I’m going to follow my corner’s directions and go in there and out-box him and be the smarter fighter.”
The Matthysse-Soto fight will open Showtime’s two-fight broadcast from Staples Center at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT. Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., and Josesito Lopez (29-4, 17 KOs, 1 NC), of Riverside, Calif., are scheduled to meet in the main event, a 12-round welterweight fight.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.