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Somodio likes Lucas for Manny


PhilBoxing.com




Boxing trainer Freddie Roach’s Filipino chief assistant Marvin Somodio said the other day he prefers WBA welterweight champion Lucas (The Machine) Matthysse of Argentina to be Manny Pacquiao’s comeback opponent as the ring icon’s career winds down.

Pacquiao, 39, hasn’t fought since losing the WBO 147-pound title to Australia’s Jeff Horn in Brisbane last July. He’s been invited by Top Rank CEO Bob Arum to co-headline a Madison Square Garden card on April 14 against a still unnamed foe with the other attraction a Horn defense against Terence Crawford. A Top Rank source said neither fight has been confirmed but that negotiations are ongoing to finalize the deal.

According to writer Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, Arum is now “going over contracts with four guys that we handle and everything’s coming along nicely.” The man whom Arum is considering to face Pacquiao isn’t Matthysse but former interim WBO superlightweight ruler Mike Alvarado of Colorado. Matthysse is 35 and Alvarado, 37.

“Alvarado’s best days are beyond him and there should be deserved scoffing at the light assignment for Pacquiao,” wrote Pugmire. “The better choice would be Matthysse.” The Argentine’s record is 39-4, with 36 KOs compared to Alvarado’s 38-4, with 26 KOs. The crink in signing up Matthysse is that his promotional contract is with Top Rank rival Golden Boy. Arum reportedly said he hopes to confirm the April 14 show this week.

Somodio said Roach also prefers Matthysse to Alvarado as Pacquiao’s next opponent. The attraction of battling Matthysse is he holds the WBA belt. Aside from that, he’s a no-retreat brawler who suits Pacquiao’s style. Matthysse, however, is a dangerous proposition with a knockout rate of 92 percent in his 39 wins since turning pro in 2004.

A duel between Matthysse and Pacquiao will set the ring on fire. In 2014, Matthysse was floored in the second and fifth, survived a cut in the third then decked John Molina, Jr. in the eighth and 10th to score an 11th round stoppage at the StubHub Center in Carson City. A year later, he was counted out in bowing to Viktor Postol. Matthysse didn’t see action in 2016, returned to the ring to stop Emmanuel Taylor last May and claimed the vacant WBA throne via a brutal eighth round disposal of Thailand’s Tewa Kiram at the Forum in Inglewood last week.

Although Matthysse’s devil-may-care attitude makes him a crowd favorite, it has put him in delicate situations. Against Kiram, he was badly cut near the left eye. Against Danny Garcia in 2013, he was decked in the 11th round and lost on points. But Matthysse’s aggressiveness gave him a big edge in beating the likes of Ruslan Provodnikov, Lamont Peterson, Zab Judah and DeMarcus Corley who suffered nine knockdowns before capitulating in the eighth round in a 2011 brawl.

Somodio said Pacquiao might consider fighting twice more before ending his career with a world title intact. “It’s a blessing that in our lifetime, Manny came along,” said Somodio. “I was given a chance by Manny and Freddie to assist in his corner against Brandon Rios in Macau and it was an experience I’ll never forget. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to work with Freddie and Manny.”

Somodio watched IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas’ demolition of Mexico’s Israel Gonzalez on ESPN TV last weekend and was impressed with the Filipino’s performance. “Jerwin has a lot of power,” he said. “His humility reminds me a lot of Manny. Some of his moves are like Manny’s. When the referee stopped the fight and Gonzalez was still down, Jerwin went to console him. In Las Vegas, he wouldn’t have been able to approach Gonzalez because nobody’s supposed to come close to a fighter who just got knocked out except the doctor. Manny used to do that, too but couldn’t do it anymore when Las Vegas tightened up on controls.”

Somodio said Ancajas looked sharp and his workrate was consistent from the start of the fight until the end, indicating a high level of conditioning. He agreed with former WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley’s observations that Ancajas could improve in varying his punches, throwing more feints and moving laterally to create angles and openings.

Photo: Pacquiao stretches as Somodio watches during one of Pacquiao's training regimen at the Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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