This past weekend in Malaysia, eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao won by knockout for the first time in nine years to claim the World Boxing Association welterweight title, and made a proclamation.
It was Pacquiao's first bout since a contentious loss last year to Jeff Horn in Australia, and since parting ways with longtime trainer Freddie Roach to work with Buboy Fernandez.
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) knocked Matthysse down onto one knee in the third and fifth rounds. He knocked the Argentine down again in the seventh, and Matthysse appeared to be mentally done as referee Kenny Bayless waved off the fight.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad attended the fight, the biggest in the country since the 1975 heavyweight clash between Muhammad Ali and Australian Joe Bugner.
Duterte said in a statement that Pacquiao has proven himself again as "one of the greatest boxers of all time" and that the win will cement his legacy in the sport.
Scores of screaming Filipino fans in the stadium waved flags and chanted "Manny, Manny" throughout the match. Pacquiao's rise to fame from an impoverished rural childhood to become one of the world's wealthiest sportsmen over his 23-year career has made him a national hero.
Pacquaio said he will return to his work as a senator for now but won't be hanging up the gloves just yet.
Justin Fortune, the longtime strength and conditioning coach of Pacquiao, felt the boxer proved a lot of critics wrong with his performance with Matthysse.
At 39-years-old, there were many observers who felt Pacquiao was way past his best and should have retired following the controversial decision loss to Horn in July 2017.
“He restored his legacy with this fight, I mean there’s a lot of haters out there, like tons of them,” said Fortune to The Inquirer.