By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – “The Machine” was functioning properly again Saturday night.
In his first fight in 18 months, Lucas Matthysse knocked out Emmanuel Taylor in the fifth round at T-Mobile Arena. Matthysse’s emphatic comeback win, part of the Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. pay-per-view undercard, proved the former super lightweight champion’s readiness for a championship-caliber fight in the welterweight division.
Matthysse also became the first fight to beat Taylor by knockout or technical knockout during Taylor’s eight-year pro career.
The 34-year-old Matthysse, of Chubut, Argentina, improved to 38-4 and recorded his 35th knockout. The 26-year-old Taylor (20-5, 14 KOs), of Cleverly, Maryland, is now 3-4 in his past seven fights.
With 57 seconds left in the fifth round, a right-left combination by Matthysse dropped Taylor for the second time in the fight. A disoriented Taylor reached his feet, but referee Jay Nady decided Taylor shouldn’t continue at 2:21 of the fifth round
Matthysse, suddenly bleeding from a cut around his right eye, floored Taylor with a straight right hand that knocked Taylor to the seat of his trunks with around 1:40 to go in the third round. A brave Taylor got up, but could last only two more rounds.
A thudding right hand by Matthysse moved Taylor into the ropes barely 30 seconds into the second round. Matthysse opened up on Taylor against the ropes later in the second round, but Taylor withstood that trouble.
Matthysse buckled Taylor’s legs with a right hand that landed with just more than 10 seconds to go in the first round. Taylor was able to stay out Matthysse’s range for the rest of the round.
Prior to Saturday night, Matthysse hadn’t fought since Ukraine’s Victor Postol knocked him out in the 10th round of their October 2015 fight in Carson, California. Matthysse suffered a fractured left orbital bone during that defeat and needed an extended break from boxing after failing to win back the WBC super welterweight championship, which was unclaimed when Postol stopped him.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.