By Keith Idec
Lucas Matthysse’s manager promised his fighter will make Manny Pacquiao retire following their fight Saturday night.
The 39-year-old Pacquiao hasn’t fought in more than a year, yet is slightly favored to beat Matthysse in their 12-round, 147-pound title fight at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Mario Acano, Matthysse’s manager, is convinced the Philippines’ Pacquiao will wish he picked an easier opponent once his hard-hitting champion starts punching Pacquiao.
“As I told you during the press conference two months ago, this fight’s gonna be a war,” Acano told The Manila Times for a story published Wednesday. “It will. We prepared Lucas to make war. He’s ready to retire Pacquiao, as he promised.”
The 35-year-old Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs, 1 NC) will make the first defense of the WBA world welterweight title he won in his last fight. Argentina’s Matthysse knocked out Thailand’s Tewa Kiram (38-1, 28 KOs) in the eighth round of that January 27 fight in Inglewood, California, to win a vacant version of the WBA’s 147-pound championship.
Matthysse is 2-0 since an eye injury threatened his career following a 10th-round knockout loss to Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (29-2, 12 KOs) in October 2015.
“Lucas is ready,” Acano said. “He prepared hard for this fight and [we’re] confident he’s still the champion when we get back to Argentina.”
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) hasn’t boxed since suffering a controversial loss to Australia’s Jeff Horn (18-1-1, 12 KOs) that cost him the WBO welterweight title last July 2 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Horn’s hometown.
The Matthysse-Pacquiao fight will headline an ESPN+ live stream from Malaysia on Saturday night.
It’ll start at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with a 12-round featherweight title bout between another Filipino southpaw, Jhack Tepora, and Mexico’s Edivaldo Ortega. Tepora (21-0, 16 KOs) and Ortega (26-1-1, 12 KOs) will fight for the WBA’s interim 126-pound championship.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.