Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur - Eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) displayed shades of his former self with a seventh round knockout of Lucas Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs) to capture the WBA "regular" welterweight title. (Photos by Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions, Lai Seng Sin/Retuters).
For Pacquiao, this was his first bout since July 2017, when he lost a controversial twelve round unanimous decision to Jeff Horn at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
This was Pacquiao's first stoppage win since 2009, when he put away Miguel Cotto in the twelfth round.
When the first round started, both boxers were letting their hands go. Pacquiao was pushing Matthysse back and showing his hand speed, with Matthysse having trouble with the quickness of the incoming punches. Pacquiao was far busier and landing many more punches.
Matthysse was trying to stand his ground in the second round, but it was Pacquiao landing the quicker shots from odd angles. Matthysse was tightening up his defense, but also missing a lot of his counters.
In the third, Pacquiao scored a combination of punches to send Matthysse down on his back. Matthysse was able to shake off the damage, as Pacquiao was taking his time with punches landing. Matthysse, who was picking up the pace, was also taking a lot of shots in the fourth, especially in the final minute.
Pacquiao was letting this hands go at the start of the fifth round. He continued to push Matthysse back and was landing fast punches. Near the end of the round, Pacquiao landed a hook to the top of Matthysse's head - and it made him take a voluntary knee for a second knockdown in the closing seconds.
Pacquiao started unloading in the sixth, taking the fight to Matthysse and making him run for some cover. During the seventh round, he stunned Matthysse several times with solid hooks. Pacquiao landed a solid uppercut that send Matthysse down for the third time and the contest was waved off.