Manny Pacquiao is beloved globally, at 4’11 and just 98 pounds, as he left home at only 16-years old to chase a dream of professional fighting and to escape extreme poverty. Southeast Asia is by no means a fight frenzy world, but when Pacquiao is in town things change, minds change, and TV’s turn on to watch. It doesn’t matter where the fight takes place people get drawn to it. Moreover, no matter where he is in his career he is the guy everybody wants. A battle with the living legend means a staple to a career that a fighter has been searching for, for so long.
Now, 23 years later from that day leaving home to chase a dream, Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) is once again a champion and doing it in dominating fashion.
Pacquiao scored his 60th career win capturing the WBA welterweight title defeating Lucas Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs) via TKO. It was his first stoppage in nine years, and he did it in style—scoring three knockdowns.
The fight was his first since fighting Jeff Horn in Australia last July. A contest that featured a much bigger opponent, who bullied and dirty boxed Pacquiao ended with a controversial finish. Since that fight, Pacquiao and longtime trainer, Freddie Roach, parted ways, and Buboy Fernandez took over the reigns.
Pacquiao out-landed Lucas Matthysse 344 to 246, according to CompuBox, and connected 44% of his power shots. Showing speed and sharpness, Pacquiao showcased great uppercuts when catching Matthysse leaning forward.
Pacquiao outclassed Matthysse in a way that many were unsure would happen.
“Matthysse has the power also, so we were taking care in the ring with hands up all the time and doing my best,” Pacquiao said. “I’m surprised [he was knocked down three times] because Matthysse is a very tough opponent. I knocked him down, and that’s a bonus for being focused and patient and in the fight and working hard in training.”
As if this fight was writing the final chapter of a legendary career, now it’s “who’s next.”
Pacquiao wasn’t ready to decide what’s next but he did make it clear he’s not finished yet.
“That’s another story and another discussion,” Pacquiao said. “Right now, I’m happy to go back to my country in the Philippines and to celebrate the victory and, of course, doing my job as a public servant.
“We are planned [to fight again in 2018]. We have not decided yet. Right now, my focus is to go back to my country and, of course, relax.”
There are talks of a fight against lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko according to TopRank and Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, but before that gets set remember how stacked the division is. Although Pacquiao looked like the fighter he is famous for being he is still 39-years old and Matthysse is not one of the top guys. He isn’t a Lomachenko, Spence Jr. or a Crawford.
Teddy Atlas a legendary boxing analysis said these guys are monsters and that there hasn’t been a division this stacked in years.
As of now, the future of Pacquiao is unforeseen, but the fact remains, he shocked the world with a vintage performance to recapture the glory he knows so well. He is once again at a place where it’s up to him on what’s next—and all people can do is wait for the next move.