At 39 (Pacquiao) and 35 (Matthysse) years old respectively, both fighters are well past their physical prime and need to come out of the fight with a victory in order to remain relevant in the boxing world.
In order to properly size up these two fighters, one must look at three major factors: their physical advantages, style clash and boxing history.
The Tale of the Tape
Given that he began his career at Bantamweight, Manny Pacquiao is relatively small compared to the rest of the Welterweight division, standing at only 5’5″.
This will not be a massive issue against Lucas Matthysse however, as The Machine is relatively short himself, standing at just 5’6″.
Matthysse will also enjoy a two inch reach advantage on Pacquiao with a wingspan of 69″.
Since moving up from Lightweight to Welterweight, Manny Pacquiao has shown that, though he still has phenomenal power, he no longer possesses his knockout power. Of the 14 fights Pac Man has seen in the Welterweight division, he has only earned one technical knockout victory against the legendary Puerto Rican, Miguel Cotto.
Matthysse is still new to the Welterweight division, taking on Pacquiao after only two previous Welterweight bouts. Though he has only fought in two bouts at the 147-pound limit, Matthysse has shown that his power carries, as he ended both fights by knockout.
The Style Clash
Manny Pacquiao is regarded widely as one of the greatest southpaws to ever grace the boxing scene. Known for his constant attack, solid power and blistering hand speed, Pac Man’s aggressive style has become massively famous with boxing fans.
Trainer Freddie Roach took in a young Manny Pacquiao and perfected the Filipino’s footwork which, when added to his natural ability, made Pacquiao dominant.
Offensively, Pacquiao will almost never attack from straight ahead. He is constantly moving from side to side to create angles to unload vicious combinations.
Pacquiao’s speed, power and offensive mentality is a double-edged sword, though. If Pac Man gets too confident in his offensive capabilities, he has been prone to forget about defense.
The most famous example of Pacquiao forgetting about defense was in his bone-chilling knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in their final fight.
As aggressive as Pacquiao is, Lucas Matthysse is just as aggressive. Freddie Roach described Matthysse as, “a fighter you need to keep in the middle of the ring. He’s a puncher, a little wild with his overhand punches and if you are caught on the ropes against him, you will get hit with a lot of punches.”
The thing that makes Matthysse so deadly is not that he has constant one-punch knockout power, but rather that he constantly moves to land numerous hard-hitting punches that break his opponent down. Add that to his iron chin and you have one of the best brawlers in the Welterweight division.
As Matthysse’s strengths match Pacquiao’s, so do his weaknesses.
The Machine is such an offensive fighter, he will often forget about defense, which was part of the reason Viktor Postol beat him so convincingly. Matthysse constantly leaves himself open to counter attacks , which Pacquiao could have a field day with.
It is an unarguable fact that Manny Pacquiao has faced much higher competition throughout his career than Lucas Matthysse. Having faced (and beaten) boxing legends like Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez and Oscar De La Hoya, Pacquiao has seen and fought through the best that boxing can offer.
Although Pacquiao has not faced opponents in world class form since Floyd Mayweather, he has still faced high competition in Tim Bradley, Jessie Vargas and Jeff Horn.
Matthysse has also seen fights with massive boxing names such as Zab Judah and Danny Garcia, but he has yet to be proven in big name fights. When fighting big names, Matthysse is 2-4, defeating only Lamont Peterson and Ruslan Provodnikov.
Header photo by CrownBoxing