At the age of 39 Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39) is supposed to have been shot. He's supposed to have been so far past his prime that he would be little more than a name on the record of anyone that he fought. Instead however he is the new WBA “regular” Welterweight champion, having dominated and dethroned Lucas Martin Matthysse (39-5-0-1, 36) in Malaysia earlier today,
After having been out of the ring for over a year, following his 2017 upset loss to Jeff Horn in Australia, many expected Pacquiao to look out of sorts, ring rusty and terrible. Instead he looked fine. It wasn't the Pacquiao who had destroyed fighters like Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto, but it was still a very capable looking Pacquiao who looked sharp and did as he pleased in the opening round against Matthysse, The Argentinian on the other hand looked slow, cumbersome and clumsy. In fact if anything Matthysse looked even worse than he did when he won the title against Teerachai Kratingdaenggym, where he was lucky to be bailed on his power and the poor chin of Teerachai.
Pacquiao's dominance stepped up a level in round 3 when he dropped Matthysse with an excellent left uppercut. Matthysse returned to his feet as the crowed roared on Pacquiao when went for the finish. Matthysse did enough to get Pacquiao's respect, but it was clear that Matthysse was too slow to be of any real danger, unless Pacquiao got reckless.
The Filipino controlled round 4, which was more competitive than the previous 3, as Matthyse cleared his head. The Argentinian would however be down again in round 5, taking a knee following a jab from Pacquiao with seconds left in the round. It seemed strange but looked to have hurt Matthysse who's first shot of note in round 6 was a hard low blow. The shot caused Pacquiao his only discomfort of the bout, whilst Matthysse got a chance to pause the beating he was taking. Pacquiao would however punish Matthysse soon afterwards as the Filipino continued to make the most of his edge in speed and reflexes.
Matthysse looked like he had some hunger early in round 7, landing a rare right hand, but would be dropped after a half blocked left uppercut. During the count he spat out the gum shield and Kenny Bayless stopped the contest immediately.
With the win Pacquiao adds yet another title to his incredible collection and sets himself up for another big fight. He'll likely not want to face one of the rising American threats at Welterweight, such as Terence Crawford or Errol Spence who would likely have far too much for him at this point, but there are options out there for the Filipino icon including a potential rematch with Jeff Horn and a showdown with the controversial Adrian Broner. Notably this completed a great few days for Filipino boxing which has also seen Vic Saludar claim the WBO Minimumweight title and Jhack Tepora claim the WBA "interim" Featherweight title.
With the loss for Matthysse it seems retirement is almost set in stone. He looked terrible against Teerachai but masked it with a win, this time however there was no positives he could take away from the bout.
Last year we saw Srisaket Sor Rungvisaia announce himself on the world stage with two huge wins against Roman Gonzalez. Today we saw Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (38-1, 28) [ถิรชัย กระทิงแดงยิม] attempt to repeat the success of Srisaket as he battled the heavy handed Lucas Martin Matthysse (39-4-0-1, 36) for the WBA Welterweight title.
The fight started well for Teerachai, who used his size, youth and jab brilliantly to keep Matthysse at range and out box the Argentinian, who looked old and tired from the opening round. The Thai kept the fight at long range with his jab whilst Mathhysse was forced to try and walk in and cut the distance, which was a real problem.
For the first 7 rounds it seemed like Matthysse was really struggling to cut the distance. He looked like a man who was out of ideas and frustrated by the size of the Thai who used his reach at range and held up close. The style of the Thai made Matthysse look terrible and made the crowd boo the fight, showing that they were just as frustrated as the Argentinian.
With Teerachai looking comfortable, and in the lead,it was clear Matthysse would need to find something, and he did saw in round 8. He dropped the Thai hard with a right jand, taking advantage of the fact Teerachai's chin was less than concrete. To his credit Teerachai got up but was dropped again only moments later as Matthysse landed a hard jab and a glancing right hand to put Teerachai out for the count.
The loss ends Teerachai's long unbeaten run, and given his style he won't be invited back to US soil any time soon, but the performance really showed how far Matthysse has slipped and it may well be time for the Argentinian to retire rather than risk taking more punishment in the ring.
Sadly neither man came out looking great and it's a bout where really there were no out and out winners. HBO didn't get an enjoyable fight, fans booed, Teerachai lost and Matthysse looked a shot fighter.
World Title Results
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