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Pacquiao-Matthysse: It won’t go the distance


PhilBoxing.com





WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse’s trainer Joel Diaz said the other day he doesn’t expect the Argentinian’s title defense against Manny Pacquiao at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on July 15 to go the 12-round distance because both fighters won’t back down from each other.


Filipino sports photographer Jhay Otamias visited Matthysse’s camp and spoke to Diaz at the Boys and Girls Club of Coachella Valley, a remote desert gym in Indio, California, 128 miles east of Los Angeles and 95 miles north of the Mexican border. Otamias, 31, is from Candelaria, Quezon, and migrated to Los Angeles in 2004. His regular job is with Disneyland Anaheim where he has worked for nearly 11 years. Otamias is a GMA-7 stringer and contributes to the philboxing and spin websites.

“I went to Matthysse’s camp to cover his training,” said Otamias. “But I left before Matthysse started sparring. Matthysse looks like he’s in good shape. He’s training under extremely hot conditions. It’s summer now and it’s almost 100 degrees in the desert.”

Otamias, who was inspired to take boxing photographs by another Los Angeles-based Filipino, dentist, mouthpiece maker and cutman Dr. Ed de la Vega, said Diaz predicted a knockout. “Diaz thinks whoever lands the best shot ahead of the other will win by knockout,” he said. “He doesn’t see the fight going 12 rounds because of the styles of both fighters. He’s sure someone’s going down.”

Diaz said Matthysse will be ready to take whatever Pacquiao dishes out. “Sabi ni Diaz, may edad na si Manny at iba na ang ginagalaw ng katawan niya but he’s still a dangerous fighter,” said Otamias. “Diaz described Manny as smart and strong. But Diaz pointed out that it’s been a long time since Manny has scored a knockout (Miguel Cotto was his last victim in 2009) and it’s doubtful if he’ll ever score a knockout again. Manny’s not the same fighter who stopped champions like Ricky Hatton, Oscar de la Hoya and Cotto. That’s the big difference between Manny then and Manny now.”

Diaz said he plans to bring Matthyssee several weeks before the fight to Kuala Lumpur to acclimatize. “Plano nila dumating sa K. L. ng maaga upang makapag-adjust para sa laban,” said Otamias.

The heavy-handed defending titlist scored a knockout in his last fight, stopping Thai Teerachai Kratingdaeng-Gym in the eighth round at the Forum in Inglewood to ascend the vacant WBA throne. He has scored 36 KOs in 39 wins, a 92 percent KO rate and lost four, two by split decision. Matthysse, 35, has paid the price for his aggressiveness, suffering knockdowns to Viktor Postol, John Molina, Jr. twice and Danny Garcia. His left eye was badly cut by Teerachai and Molina. He took the full count after his left orbital bone was fractured by Postol in 2015. The injury caused a 19-month layoff.

Pacquiao, 39, has a 64 percent KO rate with 38 KOs in 59 wins. He lost in seven fights and drew twice. Pacquiao has taken counts in fights against Juan Manuel Marquez (twice), Sugar Shane Mosley (a fluke later admitted by referee Kenny Bayless), Marco Antonio Barrera (another fluke called by referee Laurence Cole), Nedal Hussein, Serikzhan Yeshmagambetov, Medgoen 3-K Battery and Rustico Torrecampo.


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


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