Thursday, June 08, 2023  |


Admiring Oscar De La Hoya visits Lucas Matthysse in Argentina

Fighters Network
(From R to L) Lucas Matthysse, Lucas' daughter Priscilla, manager Mario Arano and Oscar De La Hoya. Photo courtesy Arano Box.

(From R to L) Lucas Matthysse, Lucas’ daughter Priscilla, manager Mario Arano and Oscar De La Hoya. Photo courtesy Arano Box.

Not too many countries have a specific holiday to celebrate the achievements and the legacies of their boxers, and surprisingly enough Argentina is one of them.

In remembrance of the now legendary Jack Dempsey-Luis Firpo heavyweight bout in 1923, the country honors its boxers on Sept. 14, the date of the fight in which the “Wild Bull of the Pampas” inscribed his name in boxing lore when he knocked “The Manassa Mauler” out of the ring, only to be stopped moments later in what became the first world championship bout disputed by an Argentine national.

And coincidentally, that same date was chosen by Oscar De La Hoya, Lucas Matthysse’s promoter and friend, to visit this small town some 160 miles from the capital city of Buenos Aires where Matthysse has settled for the past decade or so. De La Hoya was there to give his support and advice during the buildup to Matthysse’s title fight against Viktor Postol in Carson, California, on Oct. 3.

The stage was set for a memorable moment on a meaningful date, and it all went well until Oscar’s plane got stuck in Miami due to technical problems. The six-division titleholder-turned-promoter had to delay his visit one more day, finally arriving on the 15th after a grueling 40-plus-hour ordeal between Los Angeles and Buenos Aires.

First of all, I must apologize for not being here yesterday,” said Oscar to the remaining members of the media that stayed in Junin for his 10 a.m. presser on the 15th, after many others had returned to their homes the day before (THE RING included). “There were technical issues with the plane, which fortunately happened while it was on the ground,” joked Oscar, sitting alongside Matthysse’s promoter, Mario Arano, and all of Lucas’ sparring partners and gym mates, including Marcelino “Nino” L├│pez, Yamaguchi Falcao, Patrick Teixeira and others.

De La Hoya arrived in Junin (which, coincidentally, is the birthplace of Firpo himself) on Monday night and stayed long enough for an asado (Argentine-style barbecue) and a visit to Lucas’ training facility, aside from the short press conference in which he expressed his belief in Lucas becoming one of the flagships of his promotional outfit.

I admire Lucas a lot, and I’ve visited him twice already because I admire him,” said Oscar, referring to his recent visit during the buildup of the Matthysse-Ruslan Provodnikov bout. “And I will return after October 3rd to celebrate the world title that will be won by ‘The Machine.‘”

Lucas also acknowledged the positive aspects of his promoter’s presence in his remote training camp.

It is gratifying to see that one of the biggest promoters in the world treats me in such a privileged way,” said the fighter. “This gives me great confidence and pride. And it also indicates that we haven’t done things so bad. He is well aware of my potential and he knows I won’t let him down.

Lucas also pondered the virtues of his stable of sparring partners and his training staff, which he now calls “Equipo Matthysse” (abandoning the word “Team” to go along with his decision to continue his training in Argentina for the rest of his career and using a name that reflects his true identity).

They have been enormously helpful in my training camp. Some of them are much heavier, like three divisions above mine or more, and it’s great to know I have the physical strength to mix it up with them in there.”

[springboard type=”video” id=”1562891″ player=”ring003″ width=”648″ height=”511″ ]

Oscar calls out Pacquiao, trolls Arum

When asked about his fighter’s future prospects, Oscar was his usual euphemistic self in his references to his fellow promoters.

There is a guy who manages Manny Pacquiao, and I am already in conversations with this gentleman to make a fight between Pacquiao and Matthysse,” said De La Hoya, in obvious reference to Top Rank’s Bob Arum. “It could be a complicated fight, but that’s why Lucas is preparing so well. He has some great sparring partners to work with and he’ll be ready.”

Lucas’ most imminent commitment, however, still worries the promoter, as he sees this challenge as a do-or-die for Matthysse at this point of his career.

Postol is a fighter who comes to box more than fight, but when the bell rings, if Postol feels Lucas’ hands on him maybe he’ll resort to fighting,” said Oscar. “But Lucas knows how to cut off the ring and make adjustments. It will be a tough fight but we’re confident Lucas can do his work as a fighter.”

When asked about the possibility of this fight involving a prize other than the WBC junior welterweight belt, however, Oscar wouldn’t bite.

I am not sure this could be for THE RING belt, even though I own the magazine,” joked Oscar. Matthysse is ranked No. 1 but Postol is currently ranked at No. 7 by the magazine, thus making it impossible for the fight to put the venerable trinket at stake.

Still, De La Hoya allowed himself to joke about the proposal a little bit further.

I don’t get to decide this, but maybe I can put in a phone call somewhere,” laughed Oscar, “because this fight deserves this type of recognition. But obviously we have to follow (THE RING‘s) guidelines and be fair to other boxers.”