By Keith Idec
Manny Pacquiao picked Lucas Matthysse for his next bout because he wants to prove a point.
The Filipino superstar is tired of hearing he can’t compete at boxing’s elite level anymore. He’s 39 and was upset by Jeff Horn in his last fight, but Pacquiao promised during a press conference Wednesday in Manila that he still has plenty left.
“I want to prove and show that I am not done yet,” Pacquiao said, according to the Manila Bulletin.
Wednesday’s gathering in the Philippines was the first of two press conferences to promote Pacquiao’s fight against Matthysse on July 14. The second press conference is scheduled for Thursday in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, where their-pay-per-view fight will take place.
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) will challenge Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs, 1 NC) for the WBA world welterweight title the Argentinean slugger won by knocking out Thailand’s Tewa Kiram (38-1, 28 KOs) in the eighth round January 28 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The 35-year-old Matthysse is not quite the dangerous opponent he was several years ago, yet tougher than the opponent Pacquiao’s longtime promoter, Bob Arum, wanted the former champion to fight next (Mike Alvarado).
“He has guts,” Pacquiao said, according to The Philippine Star. “He is aggressive. He can create more action than my previous fight.”
Australia’s Horn roughed up Pacquiao in their July 2 fight for the WBO welterweight title. Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) won their 12-round title bout by unanimous decision, but Horn’s victory in his hometown of Brisbane was widely considered controversial.
Matthysse was knocked out by Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (29-1, 12 KOs) two fights before he defeated Kiram. Pacquiao, who’s now a full-time senator and a part-time boxer, still is in no position to overlook an opponent, especially one that can punch as hard as Matthysse.
“We cannot underestimate him,” Pacquiao said. “We have to make sure we are in 100-percent condition – physically, mentally and spiritually.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.