In­tro­duc­ing Pac­quiao’s next foe

Sun.Star Cebu - - PRIME SPORTS - AL S. MENDOZA also147@ya­

If we still be­lieve in Manny Pac­quiao—we should why not?—he will have his 66th fight in barely three months from now.

His op­po­nent is Lu­cas Matthysse of Chubut, Ar­gentina.

The reign­ing world wel­ter­weight cham­pion in the World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (WBA), Matthysse is, at 35, not that young any­more.

But so is Pac­quiao, who, at 39, is quite a bit old al­ready. At that age, you ought to be ban­ished to pas­ture­land al­ready, if not to a home-for-the-aged fenced off from the pry­ing eyes of the cu­ri­ous, won­der­ing whether their idol can still re­mem­ber his name.

But box­ing is a busi­ness teem­ing with con artists.

Here, noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble. It’s like pol­i­tics. Dirty as garbage.

That is why Jimmy Can­non was right: Box­ing is the red-light district of sports.

Matthysse is com­ing over on April 20—that’s this com­ing Fri­day—to pro­mote his fight with Pac­quiao.

From here, both fighters fly to Kuala Lumpur for more fight hype in the Malaysian cap­i­tal where they clash on July 15.

That’s al­most ex­actly one year af­ter Pac­quiao fought his last bout, los­ing his last re­main­ing world ti­tle—the WBO 147-pound crown—to Aus­tralian Jeff Horn in Bris­bane in July 2017.

Horn was a non­de­script when he pulled off a sen­sa­tional 12-round de­ci­sion vic­tory over Pac­quiao, whose only clear win in that for­get­table fight was the ninth round.

Clearly in that con­test, Pac­quiao had no more of that vaunted power and sting from his fists that had recorded 38 knock­outs out of 57 vic­to­ries— the last one com­ing in 2009 yet against Miguel Cotto.

Most of Pac­quiao’s six losses had also come al­most only re­cently, an in­di­ca­tion of his fast-di­min­ish­ing skills as old age keeps creep­ing into his sys­tem— mostly on his knees and hands that now con­tin­u­ally dis­obey the dic­tates of the mind.

Now, look at this: Matthysse has 39 wins, 36 by knock­out. If that doesn’t send shiv­ers down your spines, you must be a ro­bot straight from the Pa­cific Rim.

“I’m not think­ing about the score­cards,” Matthysse has told Box­ingScene. Com. “I’m think­ing about knock­ing Pac­quiao out.”

I know Pac­quiao isn’t scared a bit.

I am, though. He is old hat— sadly.

In short, Pac­quiao’s next foe is not Matthysse but Fa­ther Time. Tough as nails.

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