Revived Pacquiao Stuns Matthysse to Claim Welterweight Crown

Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines in action against Lucas Matthysse of Argentina in their WBA welterweight title fight in Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur, on Sunday (15/07). (Reuters Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

By : Joseph Sipalan & Peter Blaza | on 10:46 PM July 15, 2018
Category : Sports, Boxing

Kuala Lumpur/Manila Manny Pacquiao put on a dominant display to stun defending champion Lucas Matthysse with a seventh-round knockout and claim the WBA welterweight title in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday (15/07).

The 39-year-old Filipino legend looked focused and busy from the opening bell and had the 15,000 fans at the Axiata Arena on their feet when he sent his Argentine opponent to the canvas three times in total with an array of clubbing blows.

The southpaw dropped his opponent for the final time with a brutal uppercut and the win, his first inside the distance since 2009, improves the eight-division world champion's record to 60-7-2.

"I'm surprised. Matthysse is a very tough opponent," Pacquiao said in a post-fight interview following a performance in which he showed glimpses of the spectacular form that catapulted him to the top of global boxing over a decade ago.

"I knocked him down and that's a bonus for being patient in the fight, and working hard in training."

Pacquiao set the pace early, probing for openings and moving menacingly around the ring as he dropped Matthysse for a first time in the third round with an uppercut after a flurry of punches had forced the Argentine onto the defensive.

Unable to gain a foothold against Pacquiao's swarming attacks, Matthysse (39-5-1) looked to land on the counter but was forced to take a knee towards the end of the fifth round when he was visibly shaken by a right hook to the temple.

Referee Kenny Bayless called off the fight after two minutes and 43 seconds of the seventh round when Matthysse buckled following another stiff uppercut and spat out his mouthguard as he was being counted.

The win, in his first bout since losing the WBO welterweight title to unheralded Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane a year ago, gives Pacquiao his 11th world title in an incredible career that has made him a national hero in his native Philippines.

Filipinos Celebrate

At a public park in the capital, Manila, hundreds cheered Pacquiao on and roared every time he floored Matthysse. It drizzled in the middle of fight but nobody left.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who booked a ringside seat, congratulated Pacquiao, 39, for making the country proud.

Duterte told reporters in Kuala Lumpur Pacquiao should now retire and enjoy life as he had a lot of money.

In Manila, fans celebrated the victory.

"I'm so happy ... His win is everyone's win," said security guard Jason Ladica.

Pacquiao's knockout victory was a long time coming, said James Puebla, a nursing student.

"He can still continue fighting. He still has what it takes."

The southpaw boxer, dubbed as the Philippine nation's fist, floored Matthysse in rounds three, five and seven.

It was the first action for Pacquiao since losing on points to Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane last year.

"You have proven time and again that you are not just a public servant, but one of the greatest boxers of all time," Duterte said in a statement.

Last year, Duterte said he wanted Pacquiao, a senator, to be the Southeast Asian nation's next president. The next presidential election is set for 2022.

Reuters

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