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Q&A: Matthysse wants Garcia, Rios, Alexander

Fighters Network

alt caught up with THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse in advance of his Jan. 26 clash with Mike Dallas Jr., of Bakersfield, Calif., which will be the main event of a Showtime-televised triple-header from The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

During an interview translated by Ramiro Gonzalez from his native Argentina, Matthysse (32-2, 30 knockouts) discussed his desire for scoring his fifth straight stoppage win against Dallas (19-2-1, 8 KOs), potential fights opposite Philadelphia’s undefeated RING, WBA and WBC 140-pound champion Danny Garcia or former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios, and his long-range goal to rise into the welterweight ranks for a possible rematch with southpaw IBF welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander.

Matthysse, 30, has scored his past two victories by fifth- and 10th-round knockout over former WBC 130-pound and lightweight beltholder Humberto Soto in June and previously unbeaten Olusegun Ajose in September.

The latter was a showcase of Matthysse’s notorious punching power against the very tough, but over-matched Nigerian southpaw.

Matthysse has had four straight stoppage wins since sandwiching disputed decision losses to left-handers Zab Judah and Alexander in June of 2010 and June of 2011, respectively, around an eighth-round stoppage of southpaw DeMarcus Corley in January of 2011.

Matthysse hopes to defeat Dallas and to be ringside on Feb. 9, when the 24-year-old Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) takes on ex-titleholder Judah at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. On Feb. 23 in Detroit, Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs), who is 25, has a defense against Englishman Kell Brook (29-0, 19 KOs), who is 26.

Meanwhile Rios (30-0-1, 23 KOs), who is 26, has a possible March 30 rematch with Mike Alvarado, against whom he scored a seventh-round knock out in a bloody Fight-of-The-Year-caliber bout in October.

Matthysse, Garcia and Alexander are promoted by Golden Boy, and Rios, by rival Top Rank.

Matthysse-Dallas will headline a telecast that will also feature once-beaten welterweight Selcuk Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) against Jesus Soto Karass, and junior middleweights Jermell Charlo (19-0, 9 KOs) and Harry Joe Yorgey (25-1-1, 12 KOs) in an intriguing match up.

Matthysse talked about his fight with Dallas, which is for the WBC’s interim belt, and the various scenarios a victory presents in this Q&A below. How did it feel to win your last two times in the United States against Soto and Ajose after having has those two losses to Judah and Alexander on American soil?

Lucas Matthysse: It helps. Now, it will be great to fly in to Las Vegas on Sunday. I’ve gotten used to the southpaws, and I don’t have any more problems with the southpaws.

I’ve gotten used to the southpaw stance. Obviously, before Ajose, I fought Soto, who was a right-hander. Facing Dallas, it will be tough again.

I always expect a tough fight, and Dallas will be no exception. He’s a good fighter and has good speed and some power, and I know that it’s going to be a very, very intriguing.

alt Do you think that your action-packed fight with Ajose was a plus to your career from a promotional standpoint in America?

LM: I think that you’re right. The past few fights have given me more security with the fans and with the television audience because they’ve seen me in exciting fights.

They’ve seen me win in good fashion, and knocking guys out. Ajose gave me a very, very tough fight, but at the end of the day, I got the victory.

I’ll continue with my road and to request the big names. That’s what I’m hoping. I think that I’ve been promoted very well.

I think that my name is becoming a household name not only with the people in South America, but also in America and Mexico.

They’re getting tto know me pretty good. So this fight with Mike Dallas is going to be another step in the right direction toward getting the big, big fights. How do you expect the fight with Dallas to go?

LM: Honestly, with my last fight with Ajose, I was in training, and let me tell you something, I had been training very hard for that fight.

The same with this one, so I think that this one will end very, very soon. I don’t want to say in which round, but it will ended very soon by knockout. Would you like to fight Garcia after Dallas?

LM: You know what? I’m going to put all of my experience and focus on this next fight with Dallas, because I want to win in good fashion.

I want to use this performance to further show the people and the boxing public that I am ready for the big fights.

So I am focused on Mike Dallas. But yes, I want to fight Danny Garcia. That should be my next big fight. That’s what I want.

But like I said, I don’t want to be looking too far ahead into the future before this next fight. Anything can happen.

But I know I’m going to beat Mike Dallas, and then, hopefully, my promoter, Golden Boy, can get me that fight against Danny Garcia.

alt Will you be ringside for Garcia-Judah if you beat Dallas?

LM: Of course. If they invite me to come to that show, of course I’m coming. I would love to be there for that fight. So if an invitation is made, I would welcome it with open arms. Do you believe that a fight can ever be made between you and Rios, given the acrimony between Golden Boy and Top Rank?

LM: Absolutely, if they could set it up. If both promoters could come to an agreement, I would love to fight with Brandon Rios. That would be another of the very big fights. When, if ever, would you consider moving to 147?

LM: You know, I think that I’m going to be in the same 140-pound division for all of the year 2013, and to probably, at the beginning of 2014, I’m going to be invading the welterweight division. What are your thoughts on an eventual rematch with Alexander?

LM: Yes, absolutely. Devon is a good fighter, so yes. If I have to move up to the 147-pound weight division by that year, then yes, I’m willing to face him. But for now, I’m very well prepared for my next fight with Mike Dallas.

Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime

Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photo, Golden Boy Promotions

Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime

Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]