Subriel Matias will be hoping for a statement performance tonight for his homecoming in Puerto Rico.

The IBF junior welterweight champion will defend his title against undefeated Australian Liam Paro on the Matchroom bill at the Coliseo Juan Aubin Cruz Abreu in Manati.

Matias, 32, has stopped all 20 of his victims while avenging his only loss, which came to Petros Ananyan in 2020 in Las Vegas. Matias is one of the most-feared fighters in the world, but ProBox TV’s Chris Algieri is eager to see him step up in class and stay there.

“In terms of him being the best at 140, he’s got to fight more high-class guys,” contended Algieri. “He’s got to fight more world-class guys. I think this Liam Paro fight is going to be really eye-opening, because I think Liam is world-class. I don’t think he’s elite; I don’t think he’s one of the top guys in the weight class, although a win here does put him into that category. But I need to see Matias fight more world-class, elite-level guys before I crown him the king.

“There’s a lot of talented world champions in that weight class with him. I’ve got to see him compete. That’s what boxing’s all about.”

Paro, a southpaw, is 24-0 (15 KOs) and managed by Brian Peters, and the Australian contender caught the eye with a quick win over countryman Brock Jarvis before stopping Montana Love in December. But Paulie Malignaggi reckons the challenger has it all to do because he rates Matias so highly.

“I think this guy is very, very dangerous, and he doesn’t get enough respect and he doesn’t get enough mentions, and the positive comments don’t surprise me either,” Malignaggi said on ProBox TV’s “Deep Waters.”

“Puerto Rican fans really back their fighters, and he’s an exciting Puerto Rican fighter. I think the potential to promote him is tremendous; I actually think he’s been mis-promoted. He’s a guy who’s a Puerto Rican puncher who fights in such an exciting fashion, he should be known the world over, especially when he’s a world champion.”

The fight is not just seen as a homecoming for Matias but a sensible test. Malignaggi, however, doesn’t see it that way.

“Paro’s solid,” Malignaggi added. “He’s a guy who’s right there, but he’s always going to be a little bit short of a world championship. I’d love to see a terrific, competitive fight, but I really think Matias runs through him.”

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