For a second straight "Reliving the Finish" we stay in the US, though move from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to the Forum in Inglewood, California, for another KO. This one isn't quite as iconic as the Manny Pacquiao Vs Ricky Hatton one, but is another notable. Sadly though this came at the expense of a previously unbeaten Asian who had the hopes of Thailand behind him, and one which left more questions than it probably should have.
Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (38-0, 28) Vs Lucas Martin Matthysse (38-4-0-1, 35)
Although he sported a ridiculously long name Teerachai Kratingdaenggym wasn't a well known fighter, and in the US he was introduced as Tewa Kiram, rather than being called by the Thai fighting name he had used in his homeland.
Although not well known the 25 year old Thai had one of the longest unbeaten records in the sport at the time, having scored 38 straight wins. Sadly, though as is common place in Thailand, a lot of those wins were stay busy wins against lesser opponents. Those wins had seen him and his team essentially piggy back on the PABA title to gain a high WBA ranking, and in January 28 he looked to turn that ranking, and loyalty to the WBA's regional body, into a world title reign.
For those who hadn't seen him Teerachai was a bit of a mystery man, though plenty of footage was out there. He had proven to be a solid boxer-puncher, and a huge man for a Thai. He wasn't a blown up fighter fighting above his best weight, but instead a very big Welterweight who had matured into a fighter who probably could have been better off moving up in weight, which he actually did after this bout.
For the bout in question Teerachai battled against big punching Argentinian Lucas Martin Matthysse, for the vacant WBA "regular" Welterweight title.
At the age of 35 it was now or never for the incredibly hard hitting, and popular Matthysse. Up to this point Matthysse, dubbed "La Maquina", was the nearly man of professional boxing. He had knocked on the door of a proper world title numerous times, though the best he could get was the WBC "interim" title. He had 4 losses to his name, but the first two of those were very questionable decisions to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander. Following those defeats he had gone on to beat the likes of Humberto Soto, Ajose Olusegun, and Lamont Peterson, who was then the IBF champion.
Sadly for Matthysse his other two losses had come in actual title fights, with a close decision loss to Danny Garcia and a TKO loss to Viktor Postol. Those were both in world title bouts and it seemed like he was going to be denied a "full" title until he moved up in weight and got the shot against Teerachai for the vacant WBA belt.
Before we talk about the stoppage, we do need to point out the title had only become "vacant" due to the politics of the WBA and they still had a "super champion" in the form of Keith Thurman.
Despite being seen as a massive under-dog Teerachai really did incredibly well early on. He was making Matthysse look his 35 years of age, and out moving, out working, out jabbing and out boxing Matthysse. Matthysse seemed to be landing the better single shots, and had more power on his shots, but was very much being made to work incredibly hard to cut the distance.
Of course the last thing a fighter usually loses is their power, and even at the age of 35 Matthysse still had that. Big time.
Midway through round 8 Matthysse's power told and he dropped the Thai with what appeared to be a hard 1-2. For a moment it seemed Teerachai was done, before he got to his feet. That wasn't the end, but a clear warning of what Matthysse' power could do.
Less than a minute later Matthysse's power struck again.
This time the Argentinian backed the Thai up and, on first viewing seemed to drop him with a sharp, short, left hand. The Thai was flat out as the referee waved off the bout with Teerachai's head lying under the ropes.
In real time it looked like a jab had knocked out the Thai, and on replay it seemed that was the case, though it seemed like it was almost a delayed reaction KO, with Teerachai throwing his own shot before dropping to the canvas in what was a really odd ending.
Following the finish Teerachai was accused of taking a dive and looking for a way out. In fairness that may well have happened, with the pressure from Matthysse increasing and Teerachai likely realising he couldn't hurt the Argentinian. Though it was something he and his team did deny.
Whatever the outcome we didn't see Matthysse hold the title for long, losing to Manny Pacquiao in his first defense. As for Teerachai he bounced back, moved up in weight and began moving towards a second world title bout, this time at 154lbs.
Whether this was a delayed reaction KO, a dive, or a man simply shaken into the point of accepting a loss, it looked great at the time.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).