On Saturday night Manny Pacquiao did something he hasn’t accomplished since his 2009 fight against Miguel Cotto- finish his opponent.
Boxing’s eight weight class world champion picked up his 60th career win and the WBA welterweight strap by knocking out Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round in their fight in Malaysia, pushing his record to 60-7-2 with 39 KOs.
Teddy Atlas says Manny Pacquiao looked strong in his first fight since 2018, adding Lucas Matthysse looked like a “heavy bag”.
This was Pacquiao’s first since his controversial July 2017 decision loss to Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia. It was also the first fight since 2001 in which long time trainer, Freddie Roach, wasn’t in the champ’s corner. Pacquiao parted ways with Roach after hearing an interview where the Los Angeles based trainer suggested that his star pupil should hang up the gloves.
But Pacquiao, 39, showed Roach and his detractors that he didn’t need his longtime friend to deliver the explosive power that he was known for early in his career as he knocked Matthysse down twice before ending the fight in the seventh round with the third and final knockdown of the fight, propelling the Congressman to his first win since 2016.
“Matthysse has the power also so we were taking care in the ring with hands up all the time and doing my best,” said Pacquiao. “I’m surprised [he was knocked down three times] because Matthysse is a very tough opponent. I knocked him down and that’s a bonus for being focused and patient and in the fight and working hard in training.”
This is the second fight where Pacquiao was unable to secure a venue in the U.S. The Filipino legend remains a global superstar and now that he has gained yet another title he is in contention to battle the stars of the welterweight division such as Errol Spence, Jr., Terence Crawford and Keith Thurman. These fights are guaranteed U.S. blockbusters and will probably signal the return of “Pac-Man” to the States unless boxing promotional and broadcast politics stymie the match-ups.
On the cusp of his fortieth revolution around the sun, Pacquiao only has a few fights left. Each is intriguing on so many levels now that Pacquiao has stomped out the roaches in his house to get back to the winner’s circle his way.
“Thank God for this victory,” said Pacquiao. “This is all dedicated to God and all the Filipino people. Thank you to our country and our president for watching this fight.”