Pac Man May Not be Hungry Enough to Chew Up Matthysse

Andreas Hale

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 1:02 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 10, 2018 1:02 PM UTC

Manny Pacquiao fights for the first time since his controversial loss to Jeff Horn last July, meeting Lucas Matthysse on Sunday in Malaysia. Both are past their prime, but who has more left in the tank? 

Lucas Matthysse vs. Manny Pacquiao (Sunday, 12:23 p.m. ET)Free Boxing Pick: Pacquiao by decision (-110)Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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It’s no secret that Manny Pacquiao is no longer the Pac Man of old. The Filipino who tore through multiple divisions and blitzed his opponents with a lighting fast attack is simply not here. There are remnants of the old Pacquiao, and that’s been good enough to beat above average fighters. However, Pacquiao’s fight with Jeff Horn – and Horn’s subsequent demolition at the hands of Terence Crawford – revealed that the 39-year-old is far from an elite talent at this stage in his career. Even though most thought Pacquiao defeated Horn, that fight shouldn’t have been as close as it was. Pacquiao has lost some pep in his step and pop in his shots. He’s still dangerous, but no longer the pound for pound monster that he was in the 2000s.

Lucas Matthysse has suffered a similar fate and is no longer the wrecking machine that made a habit out of landing bombs on his opponents that only few could recover from. But the stone-chinned Argentinean has slowed down as of late and suffered a 10th-round KO loss to Viktor Postol in 2015. He bounced back with two knockout wins, albeit against lesser opposition in Emmanuel Taylor and Tewa Kiram.

Oddsmakers believe that Pacquiao has more left in the tank at this stage of his career and have pegged him as a -180 favorite to Matthysse’s underdog status at +168.

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Pacquiao is the rightful favorite considering his career accomplishments and the fact he was solid in victories over Timothy Bradley and Jessie Vargas before the loss to Horn. But there are some concerns with Pacquiao’s dedication to boxing that could rear their ugly head against Matthysse.

For one, Pacquiao has opted to go with Buboy Fernandez instead of longtime trainer Freddie Roach for this fight. Whether it was an issue of money or comfort doesn’t matter, Fernandez is a clear downgrade and signals that Pacquiao hasn’t sought to improve at all in this camp. He’s clearly comfortable with where he’s currently at and Fernandez has simply helped him get his conditioning right before stepping into the ring with Matthysse.

There’s also the issue of time. Since becoming a senator in his home country of the Philippines, Pacquiao has something on his day to-day schedule that is a little more important than his boxing career. He boxes for money, plain and simple. If he didn’t have to fight, it’s hard to believe he would.

Even with his dedication to the sport in question, it’s hard to see Matthysse possessing the ability and technique to beat Pacquiao over the course of 12 rounds. One thing is for certain, if Matthysse is going to win, it won’t be by decision. If you feel that strongly about Matthysse’s power being able to put down Pacquiao inside of the distance, there’s a nice +335 line waiting for you. Frankly, that’s the only way to go if you are considering Matthysse. The Argentinean is a brawler first who very rarely wins decisions. As a matter of fact, Matthysse has won only two fights by decision in his entire career that is spread across 14 years and 44 fights.

The real question is whether or not Pacquiao still possesses the mean streak that savagely put away the likes of Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya. Pacquiao hasn’t scored a knockout since he stopped Cotto in the 12th round of their 2009 clash. It’s hard to believe that he’ll be able to pull off the feat against Matthysse.

Ultimately, Pacquao’s natural speed and dynamicism should be enough for him to win a unanimous decision. Matthysse isn’t a crisp counter puncher and he doesn’t lay traps very well, so his best bet is to bull forward and try to get at Pacquiao early. Chances are that he won’t and Pacquiao will outbox him and see his hand raised after 36 minutes of action.

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