Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse pose with the latter's WBA welterweight championship belt at Thursday's final press conference at the Hilton in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Abac Cordero
KUALA LUMPUR – WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse has sent a clear message to Manny Pacquiao: You haven’t faced anyone like me.
Matthysse is partly right, as he will be the heaviest puncher to lock horns with Pacquiao in recent memory by the time the two fighters step on the ring Sunday at the Axiata Arena here.
The question is: will the 35-year-old Argentinean connect? Matthysse and his camp are confident about his chances.
“Pacquiao is a great fighter, but he hasn't faced ‘The Machine’ yet,” the reigning titlist told a packed press conference at the Hilton Hotel here Thursday.
Nicknamed “La Maquina,” Matthysse is entering the Sunday showdown armed with a high knockout percentage, which likely makes him the most dangerous opponent for an ever-vulnerable Pacquiao. Of Matthysse’s 39 wins, 36 came by way of knockout.
He didn’t travel to the other side of the world to lose.
“I'm honored to face him (Pacquiao). But I'm here to defend my title,” said Matthysse, the pride of Chubut, Argentina.
Matthysse’s purse for fighting Pacquiao is estimated to be at $2 million, but it’s not about the money for the champion.
“We got everything ready to go. Lucas Matthysse is not here for a paycheck. He is here to bring his title back to his people,” said Matthysse’s trainer Joel Diaz.
Pacquiao, for his part, is unfazed. In fact, he again stressed that he picked Matthysse for his exciting style.
"I believe we can create good action in the ring so the fans will be happy," said Pacquiao, who is coming off a one-year hiatus and looking for redemption after a controversial loss to Jeff Horn in Australia.
Both camps are satisfied with the work they’ve put in, and it’s just a matter of fine-tuning leading to the official weigh-in on Saturday.
The odds are 2-1 in favor of Pacquiao, which is as close as it can get. For Oscar Dela Hoya, whose Golden Boy Promotions is co-promoting the fight with Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, it’s a toss-up.
“I do know that Matthysse is focused and determined. This is the fight of his life. So it's all gonna depend on how Pacquiao reacts when the first bell rings. Are we gonna see a distracted Pacquiao or are we gonna see a Pacquiao who we're used to see?” Dela Hoya said.