The Filipino legend proved he’s still got plenty left to give with a stylish performance
Manny Pacquiao overcame Lucas Matthysse with an impressive seventh-round stoppage to claim the WBA ‘regular’ welterweight title on Saturday night in Malaysia.
Despite being out of the ring for over a year and coming off a defeat to Jeff Horn, the 39-year-old put on an effective display to neutralise his Argentinian opponent, dropping him three times before the fight’s end.
The bout began with Pacquiao instantly asserting himself in the opening rounds, landing short right hands and pressing combinations to disrupt Matthysse’s rhythm.
Despite being younger than the Filipino great, battle-hardened Matthysse is now 35 years old himself and this showed throughout the night as he struggled to keep up with the pace of his opponent.
Pacquiao scored his first knockdown with a third-round left uppercut, much to the delight of the Kuala Lumpur crowd who had not seen a major boxing event in their country since Muhammad Ali defended his world title there in 1975.
‘La Maquina’ was down again two rounds later, forced to take a knee as ‘Pac Man’ kept up his relentless pressure.
In the sixth, Matthysse had his best moment in terms of disrupting Pacquiao as he landed a low blow which prompted a time out. However, this was only postponing the inevitable.
The end came in the following round, as Manny Pacquiao rolled back the years to produce another sensational left uppercut, flooring Lucas Matthysse once more.
This time, he did not make it back to his feet.
Despite an oddly handled split from long-time trainer Freddie Roach in the build-up to this fight, the 39-year-old returned to score his first knockout in nine years.
The win puts Pacquiao back on the map with the WBA ‘regular’ welterweight belt around his waist.
Whether he will continue to compete into his 40s is unknown as he continues to juggle his boxing career with political pursuits in his homeland.