By Keith Idec
Speculation persisted during Lucas Matthysse’s lengthy layoff that the knockout artist would retire.
The longer he stayed away from boxing, the more people began believing that his knockout defeat to Viktor Postol would be the final time we’d see Matthysse in the ring. All along, Matthysse knew better.
The former interim WBC super lightweight champion took an extended break, yet realized all along he would fight again.
Matthysse (37-4, 34 KOs, 1 NC) will end a 19-month layoff May 6 in a 10-round welterweight bout against Emmanuel Taylor (20-4, 14 KOs). Matthysse-Taylor will be one of three fights televised as part of the Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. undercard from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (HBO Pay-Per-View).
“I never thought of retirement,” Matthysse said during a conference call Tuesday. “I just wanted a rest. I had a string of really tough fights and I needed time to rest. And that’s exactly what I did – I rested.”
Matthysse’s 10th-round knockout loss to Postol was the first such defeat of his 12-year pro career. That loss in October 2015 occurred 5½ months after Matthysse engaged in a physically taxing 12-round brawl with Ruslan Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KOs).
The 34-year-old Matthysse beat the rugged Russian by majority decision, but that difficult fight took a toll on his body. His loss to Postol was worse.
Postol’s punches broke the orbital bone around Matthysse’s left eye. The injury took a lot of time to heal, more than Matthysse anticipated.
He was supposed to fight on the Alvarez-Amir Khan undercard 11 months ago at T-Mobile Arena. Eric Gomez, Golden Boy Promotions’ president, had hoped to match Matthysse against Mauricio Herrera, but Matthysse realized that his eye socket wasn’t structurally sound enough to fight that soon after his loss to Ukraine’s Postol (28-1, 12 KOs).
The area around Matthysse’s left eye has felt fine throughout training camp for the Taylor fight, though.
“I feel confident there’s not gonna be any problems with the eye,” Matthysse said. “I had a training camp in Argentina [earlier this year]. I was training out there and I had nothing wrong with it. I got hit plenty of times there. Now I changed my training camp. I’m out in Indio [California]. I’ve been sparring and I feel confident that there’s not gonna be any problems with the eye.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.