The next chapter in the storied career of former eight-division world champion and future first-ballot Hall of Famer, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs), will stream live and exclusively in the United States on Saturday, July 14 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN+ as he takes on WBA champion, Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs).
This will be Pacquiao’s first fight since headlining cable television’s highest-rated and most-watched boxing telecast since 2006, when he fought Jeff Horn in July of 2017 on ESPN.
Pacquiao vs. Matthysse will take place at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tale of the Tape
|Manny Pacquiao||Lucas Matthysse|
|Record||59-7-2, 38 KOs||39-4, 36 KOs|
|Hometown||Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippines||Trelew, Chubut, Argentina|
Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse are fairly even across the board in terms of reach and height.
The biggest difference between the two is rounds fought, and the level of competition they’ve take on in their long careers.
Main Story Lines
Manny Pacquiao is making his return to the ring after stepping away and tending to his duties as the Senator in his native Philippines.
Pacquiao’s last fight was a controversial loss one year ago to Jeff Horn in Australia. Pacquiao lost his WBO Welterweight title, and what seemed to be his love for the sport.
Lucas Matthysse earned his shot for the vacant WBA title with a win over Emmanuel Taylor and then took the title with a stoppage win over Tewa Kiram.
This will be Matthysse’s third fight after moving up to the Welterweight, and his toughest opponent in his career. Matthysse hasn’t fared well in the two biggest fights in his career. He injured his orbital bone and lost against both Danny Garcia and Viktor Postol.
Matthysse contemplated retirement after his loss to Postol, before eventually returning to the ring in a new division. Now back on track he looks to take advantage of the opportunity in front of him.
There is no doubt this will be the last attempt at a career resurgence for either fighter, the loser will likely be done with the sport.
Strengths for Each Fighter
Manny Pacquiao’s strength in the ring are his hand speed, experience and combination punching.
Even at age 39, Pacquiao’s hand speed is faster than the average boxer.
Pacquiao has 455 rounds boxed in his 68 career bouts. Well over double the amount his opponent Matthysse has. Pacquiao is the only eight-division world champion in the sport and knows his way around the ring in title fights.
Pacquiao uses his combination punching and volume to bully his opponents. When Pacquiao puts together four, five, or six punches in one exchange consistently he is tough to stop.
Combine the combination punching and volume with his hand speed it spells trouble for Lucas Matthysse.
Lucas Matthysse’s undeniable strength is his power punching. Matthysse has 36 KOs in his 39 career wins a 82 percent knockout rate.
Matthysse throws power punches with both hands, and both to the body and upstairs. His straight right hand, and left hook are tremendously powerful.
He doesn’t rely on one big punch even though he contains that kind of power. Matthysse is patient, and will time his opponents.
If Matthysse can time Pacquiao’s tendencies and catch him, this fight could end in a KO.
Weaknesses for Each Fighter
Manny Pacquiao’s defense, and brawling tendencies are his weaknesses.
Pacquiao has never been known as a defensive magician, and will be there for Lucas Matthysse to hit. Throwing combinations in bunches leaves Pacquiao open to being hit if Matthysse throws at the same time.
Pacquiao has no problem turning a fight into a brawl. He will stand and trade with his opponent as he has done in many of his fights. This will not benefit him in this fight, and should refrain from doing so.
Lucas Matthysse’s weaknesses are his defense, versatility, and his eye injury.
Matthysse also is not a defensive boxer, and can be hit at will. Not enough head movement, and his brawling tendency gets him in trouble at times.
Matthysse lacks versatility, and only looks comfortable fighting coming forward. Manny Pacquiao will be able to put the pressure on Matthysse, and make him uncomfortable by fighting of his back foot.
Although the orbital bone should be healed for Matthysse, it can linger in the back of his mind.
His right eye will line up with Pacquiao’s straight left hand, a cause for concern.
The Winner and Why
Manny Pacquiao will turn back the clock on Saturday night and turn in a vintage Pac Man performance. It may not end in a knockout as Pacquiao’s power has slightly declined.
Pacquiao’s speed will be the difference, he will be able to get in and out of range against Lucas Matthysse. As long as Pacquiao doesn’t try to stand and trade this is his belt for the taking.
Pacquiao wins by majority decision.