By Keith Idec
Lucas Matthysse determined long before this comeback began that he’d have to move up in weight.
He had more trouble than usual making the 140-pound super lightweight limit for his past two fights. And at 34, the Argentine power puncher just didn’t think it was possible to continue fighting within the division he had exclusively called home since making his pro debut in June 2004.
The ex-interim WBC 140-pound champion will make his debut as a full-fledged welterweight May 6 in Las Vegas. Matthysse will meet Emmanuel Taylor that night as part of the Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. televised undercard at T-Mobile Arena (HBO Pay-Per-View).
Matthysse (37-4, 34 KOs, 1 NC), who’ll end a 19-month layoff against Taylor, discussed his move up to welterweight during a conference call Tuesday.
“I felt that I had to make the change,” Matthysse said through a translator. “I had been at the weight for a long time. I’m 34 years old now. And the truth is, the last two fights, they were a struggle. I struggled a little bit the last two fights in making weight. My body just felt that it was time to move up and I’m feeling great right now.”
Matthysse went 1-1 in those two fights for which he especially struggled to make the 140-pound limit.
He beat Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KOs) by majority decision in the first of those two bouts in April 2015. But 5½ months later, Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (28-1, 12 KOs) became the first fighter to knock out Matthysse.
That knockout defeat made Matthysse accept that it was time to move up to 147 pounds. He has no plans to move back down to 140 pounds, not even for a big payday.
“I’ve decided to stay at this weight,” said Matthysse, who is now trained by Joel Diaz. “I feel very good at this weight. I’m working really hard and I feel comfortable at this weight. To battle to get back down to 140, I don’t think I have it anymore.”
After fighting Taylor (20-4, 14 KOs), of Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, Matthysse hopes to get a shot at a top welterweight in his next bout.
“I have a lot of confidence in myself,” Matthysse said. “And I’m feeling really good in this weight class. I would love to fight Danny Garcia again. Or I’ll fight against [Keith] Thurman. I feel very capable at this weight class.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.