By Francisco Salazar
CARSON, Calif. - Everything seemed aligned for Lucas Matthysse to win a world title belt on Saturday night.
He was favored to defeat Viktor Postol, the mandatory challenger to the WBC 140-pound title, and have a possible fight lined up against Manny Pacquiao for early 2016.
Viktor Postol must have not read those memos.
Postol weathered through a barrage of thudding and hard shots from Matthysse to score a shocking 10th round knockout win before a boisterous crowd of about 5,800 at the Stubhub Center.
With the win, Postol improves to 28-0, 12 KOs and captures the vacant WBC junior welterweight title.
Matthysse drops to 37-4, 34 KOs.
While Matthysse awaits another opportunity to fight for a world title (whenever that will be), Postol wins a world title after having to wait for Danny Garcia to defend the title against him.
Garcia vacated the title belt and is now campaigning at 147 pounds.
Matthysse was carrying momentum from the hard-fought decision win over Ruslan Provodnikov on April 18. Matthysse was viewed as the top 140-pound fighter and seemed like a shoe-in to defeat Postol.
Early on, the fight seems to lack drama as the two fighters tied up often and there was no real ebb and flow to the fight. Matthysse tried to fight his way inside of Postol's reach, but would get held often, which prompted warnings from referee Jack Reiss.
As the bout entered the middle rounds, Matthysse was able to close the distance between him and Postol. Matthysse was able to connect with a hard left hooks or right crosses, which a few seemed to stun Postol.
A right cross stunned Postol in round seven. As Matthysse attempted to follow up, both fighters' heads collided, allowing Postol a respite of sorts.
Matthysse was not the same from that point on, as Postol was able to keep him away with steady amount of jabs to the head. Postol picked up his aggression, even stunning Matthysse in round eight.
Postol kept Matthysse on the outside and ended matters at the end of the 10th round, dropping him to one knee with a right-left hand combination. Matthysse remained on the canvas as referee Jack Reiss counted him out at 2:58.
Entering the 10th round, Postol was up on two scorecards (86-85), while Matthysse was up 86-85 on the third card.
Postol connected on 113 of 509 total punches, while Matthysse landed 96 of 281.
Postol has many options, including a fight with Terence Crawford, which HBO boxing analyst Max Kellerman brought up to him in the post-fight interview.
It will be interesting to see when and whom Matthysse will fight next. A fight against Pacquiao will likely not happen, but do not be surprised if he could return to the ring against another top-10 guy.
Orozco defeats Soto
Junior welterweight Antonio Orozco won a 10 round unanimous decision over former multiple world title holder Humberto Soto.
It was a major step up in opposition for the young Orozco, who resides in San Diego. Soto was scheduled to fight Frankie Gomez on May 9, but the fight was cancelled the day before at the weigh-in when Gomez was way over the contracted weight.
Soto seemed to take the first round, but Orozco was able to get the best of him in the second round by walking him down and beating him to the punch.
Both fighters had their moments over the next couple of rounds. Orozco tried to get on the inside and attack the body, but Soto was able to throw him off with repeated jabs that landed on Orozco’s face.
When the pace slowed, it seemed to favor Soto, who was content to work from the center of the ring. Both fighters did well in the fifth round, landing hooks and crosses to the body and head.
While Orozco may have lacked going to the body, he began to utilize his ring generalship to set up his combinations to the head and body. Undaunted, Soto looked to counter Orozco with left hooks to the head.
Orozco was deducted a point in the ninth round for a low blow by referee Jerry Cantu. Television replays showed the punch seem to land on Soto’s beltline.
Both fighters had their moments in the 10th round, as Orozco seemed to be the aggressor. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Orozco, 97-92, 97-92, and 98-91.
Orozco improves to 23-0, 15 KOs, while Soto drops to 65-9-2, 35 KOs.