Singapore. If you are of the crop that believes Manny Pacquiao's best days as a professional boxer are well behind him, you are probably right. But do not tell him that.
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KO's), boxing's only eight-division world champion, said during a press conference ahead of his next bout against WBA welterweight champion Lucas "La Maquina" Matthysse (39-4, 36 KO's) of Argentina, that he believes he still has much to offer the sport.
"I believe I'm not yet finished. I am not done yet. I intend to win," Pacquiao told reporters.
The 39-year-old Filipino fighting senator is nearly halfway through his third decade as a professional boxer and in the twilight of his career, but still feels as though he has a lot to prove.
Pacquiao was last seen in action against Australia's Jeff Horn in July 2017, when he was all but expected to run right through his young and inexperienced opponent. But Horn shocked the world, authoring one of the greatest upsets in the history of the sport when he defeated Pacquiao, earning a unanimous decision in front of his hometown crowd.
The public cried foul over the decision and the WBO even brought the fight under investigation, but the result held up and Pacquiao has not fought since. Though he is definitely at the tail end of his career, Pacquiao revealed to media that he plans to continue fighting because he wants to remind everyone of who he is as a boxer.
"I want them to remember me after my career not only as a champion, but as being an inspiration to everyone, being a good person," said Pacquiao.
"This is not my last fight. It's one to prove that I am still there in boxing and that my career is not over yet."
Meanwhile, Matthysse, who is fresh off his first legitimate world title victory with an eighth round knockout of Tewa Kiram last January, is more than happy to stand across the Filipino ring icon, vowing to send him into retirement.
The Argentinian is a bonafide knockout artist, and likely the hardest puncher Pacquiao will have ever faced, sporting a 92 percent knockout ratio — 36 of Matthysse's 39 victories have ended within the distance, and although he is not a particularly skilled fighter, Matthysse is no doubt incredibly tough and a grizzled veteran in his own right.
Matthysse vows to keep the belt on his side of the world, and promised to do everything in his power to beat Pacquiao.
"Sure, Manny has won so many titles, I only won one title," said Matthysse. "I am not going to give it up. I will die for it if I have to. I will defend this title to the death."
Pacquiao vs Matthysse, scheduled for 12 rounds in the welterweight division, will take place at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on July 15. The fight will be co-promoted by Manny Pacquiao's own MP Promotions in collaboration with Golden Boy Promotions. The full card has also been announced.
Written by Loren Mack