By Carlos Costa
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- WBA welterweight "regular" champion Lucas "La Maquina" Matthysse (39-4, 36 KO's) of Argentina has the huge fighting job of defending his title against the still fast hands and unpredictable southpaw moves of one of the greatest boxers of his generation, Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KO's).
The fight takes place this coming Sunday July 15 [July 14 in America] in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Matthysse's long-time manager Mario Arano, 65, has 100% confidence that his hard-hitting fighter can beat the Filipino boxing legend.
For Arano, Matthysse is not only his fighter (since 2004 when "La Maquina" turned pro), as well as his friend of many years; but also an inspiration and a beacon of hope for South American boxing.
BoxingScene.com: What does Lucas Matthysse represent to South American boxing fans?
Arano: To me, Luchas Martin Matthysse is the star fighter of South American boxing. I share with you my belief that right now Lucas is the best South American boxer pound-for-pound.
That is why boxing fans in South America, especially boxing fans in Argentina, are so much excited and so much interested in Lucas. I see his popularity rising up in social media. I see that in forums, in whatsapp chats, in the many emails that we receive, all expressing good wishes to Matthysse in his coming fight against Manny Pacquiao here in Malaysia.
I can say that if Matthysse wins his fight against Pacquiao, South American boxing would get a huge pump-up in optimism. I have no doubt of that. Our promoters, our boxers and all alike would love a victory of Lucas, and our fighters would want to emulate his success.
Also, a triumph by Lucas would contribute to getting kids back into the boxing gym. Because, sincerely, I think South American boxing is not doing that good, it's not in its best moment. In my opinion, South American boxing is going through a rough batch, a slump.
In addition, in South America, we have certain social problems with our kids that we as society has to address. These social problems affect sports and boxing. There are certain problems in our country Argentina, as well as in other countries like Colombia and even Brazil. Brazil hasn't come up with any star boxers; and kids are not getting into the boxing gyms.
I said during the press conference last April here in Malaysia that Lucas Matthysse will be the flag-bearer of South American boxing. Should Matthysse comes out victorious, his win will have a positive effect in our boxing.
BoxingScene.com: And, if Matthysse wins by knockout, it would be even more spectacular the effect?
Arano: Sure. To me, Matthysse could knock Pacquiao out in 6 or 7 rounds. That is my wish, my hope. Anyways, fights are fights. Anything can happen. But one thing is sure: we so much respect Pacquiao. Who does not know who Pacquiao is? Who does not know what Pacquiao has done? Who does not know Pacquiao's story?
But this is now the time for Lucas Matthysse. The best times of Manny Pacquiao were in the past.
BoxingScene.com: An important feature in Matthysse's boxing is his still devastating punching power. He proved in his last fight last January. It could be a factor in his fight against Pacquiao?
Arano: Sure yes. I think that Lucas Matthysse still has a huge, damaging power punch. Plus he has experience. In fact, he has a total of around 170 fights amateur and professional fights. He is a tough fighter with skills who has fought all over the world. As an amateur boxer, Matthysse boxed and represented his country Argentina in international tournaments for about 5 years.
As a professional boxer, Lucas had lost only 4 fights, two of those loses were questionable split decisions that Matthysse should have won. I am talking about his dubious split decision loses to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander.
Moreover, if you see Lucas' face, he does not have any huge scars from battles. His nose is intact. The guy looks like a movie star.
And what does that mean? It means that his defensive skills have worked well. It means that his boxing smarts have worked well. So I think that his good striking power, plus his good boxing and effective defense can all be combined as Lucas' key to victory.
This is the fight that Lucas Matthysse wanted. And it was the fight that our boxing promotion company, Arano Boxing, wanted, and here we are in Malaysia, ready to fight.
The author of this report Carlos Costa of Panama is Boxingscene.com fight reporter based in Cebu, Philippines. He will attend the Pacqiuao-Matthysse fight in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Carlos can be reached by email: [email protected] and by Whatsapp/Viber +639184538152.