Manny Pacquiao stops Lucas Matthysse in Round 7 for first TKO victory since 2009
Manny Pacquiao, for the first time this decade, has a knockout victory under his belt.
The only eight-division titleholder in boxing history was declared shot by many boxing media members and fans following a controversial decision defeat to Jeff Horn one year ago.
But Pacquiao proved on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Saturday in the U.S.) that while he may be past his prime, he still has enough left in the tank to compete on the top level. The Filipino senator, in his first fight without Freddie Roach in his corner since 2001, dropped Matthysse three times en route to a seventh-round stoppage in a bout broadcast live on ESPN+.
With the victory, the 39-year-old picked up a secondary welterweight title, but more important, kept himself relevant and in line for a major fight up next, possibly against the likes of Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Coppinger’s Score for MANNY PACQUIAO VS. LUCAS MATTHYSSE
“Matthysse is a very tough opponent and I knock him down, so that’s a bonus for being patient in the fight. And I worked hard in training,” said Pacquiao, The Ring’s No. 6 welterweight, who hadn’t scored a knockout since his 2009 victory over Miguel Cotto. “It’s heavy training, we did a good job.”
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 knockouts) got the job done with his left uppercut, vaunted right hook and tremendous speed, which even at his advanced age is still readily apparent. The all-time great used his quick feet to confound the slow-as-molasses Argentine, who was never in proper punching range and was always reaching and lunging to land his shots.
Matthysse, 35, was constantly caught with his chin hanging over his lead foot, and Pacquiao took advantage with some precision left uppercuts and overhand shots. A left uppercut clipped Matthysse on the jaw in Round 2 for the first knockdown of the night, and a series of jabs produced a second knockdown in Round 5, though none of the three shots seemed to land with any consequence.
Pacquiao ratcheted up the pace and continued to blast Matthysse with body shots and uppercuts until he landed another big shot in Round 7, again a left uppercut, that dropped his foe again. When Matthysse spit out the mouthpiece in a sign of submission from one knee, referee Kenny Bayless waved off the fight at 2:43.
“He’s a great fighter and a great champion,” said Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs), who struggled in a knockout victory over obscure Thai fighter Tewa Kiram in January. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and today it was my turn to lose, but I lost to a great fighter and a great legend in Manny Pacquiao.”
Matthysse is now effectively finished as a player in the welterweight division, but Pacquiao fights on. Since his defeat to Floyd Mayweather in 2015 in the highest-gross bout of all time, Pacquiao impressed with plenty of knockdowns in victories over Jessie Vargas and Timothy Bradley, but the knockout eluded him.
And when he lost to Horn last summer, it seemed he might never stop a top-10 fighter again.
But now he has his first knockout victory in 3,164 days, even if it came against a fighter well past his prime, and with it, Pacquiao is in the mix for another major fight.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger