Eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao has his entire boxing future at stake on Saturday, when he challenges WBA "regular" welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia.
Pacquiao, who turns 40-years-old later this year, has been inactive since July 2017 - when he suffered a twelve round decision loss to Jeff Horn in a major upset in Brisbane, Australia.
Matthysse, at 35, is riding a career high right and he packs a lot of power in both hands.
Should Pacquiao win, and win in style, promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank would love to match him against current WBO lightweight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko.
Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) has been turning heads with his ability to capture world titles in three weight divisions in only twelve pro fights.
The likely scenario would have Pacquiao and Lomachenko meet at a catch-weight of around 140-pounds.
The two-time Olympic gold medal winner recently underwent shoulder surgery, but he's expected to fight again in the final quarter of the year.
But because of Pacquiao's age, and Matthysse's power, Arum is concerned about the Filipino superstar's ability to come away with a win.
“Manny has to win and they need to agree on a mutual weight, but we can get it done,” Arum said to The Los Angeles Times. “Who friggin’ knows who’ll win [Saturday], though. Matthysse is a tremendous puncher and Manny’s quickness is not the same as it was.”
Pacquiao has retired several fighters during his career - notably Oscar De La Hoya in 2008 with a one-sided beating - and Pacquiao jumped up from 135 to 147 to make that fight happen.
Now the shoe is on the other foot, and Pacquiao is the older veteran - but he really likes the idea of facing Lomachenko.
“I’ve watched a couple of his fights. He’s fast. I like his style. Fighting him will be good and exciting,” Pacquiao said.