Coming off the excitement of Saturday’s third-round stoppage of Lamont Peterson in a non-title fight, Lucas Matthysse got some high praise immediately, though admittedly it was from someone who has a stake in his career.
As Matthysse was getting ready to be interviewed by Showtime’s Jim Gray, Richard Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, cried out “You’re looking at the new Manny Pacquiao,” as if the ‘old” Pacquiao may have bowed out of the game.
Everyone knew what Schaefer meant, however; aside from the fact that he was somebody who is available to Golden Boy, while Pacquiao is not, Matthysse has established himself as an explosive fighter who can end a fight at any time. he floored Peterson, a victor over Amir Khan in December 2011 and the IBF 140-pound titleholder, three times, with the big blow a solid left hook in the third round that put Peterson down hard and signaled the beginning of the end at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Whether Golden Boy can, well, strike gold with Matthysse is anybody’s guess. There has been talk of a fight with Danny Garcia at 140 pounds, which would make for a solid Showtime telecast. Indeed, that could be a match for September 7. But he also has his eyes on Pacquiao himself. “What I really want to do is fight him,” he says.
Matthysse is a fighter who would seem ideal for television, in the sense that he has instant knockout power and is never out of a fight because of it. His record is 34-2, and 32 of those wins have come by knockout. And if he were to take care of business against Garcia, who owns the “real” WBC and WBA belts, as well as the belt issued by Golden Boy-owned Ring Magazine, he would be an even hotter property.
Of course, there would be hurdles involved in getting into the ring with the “real” Pacquiao. One is the fact that the spirit of cooperation that exists between Golden Boy and Top Rank (which promotes Pacquiao) is about the same as Republicans and Democrats on Capital Hill.
In Matthysse’s first 28 pro fights, he only had to go beyond the fourth round once, so perhaps he was handicapped in terms of experience when he stepped in with Zab Judah in November 2010. But he went twelve rounds in that fight, knocked Judah down in the tenth, and lost a split decision, with two of the judges giving Judah the fight by a single point. He then went on to floor Devon Alexander and lose another split decision that was hotly disputed. So the argument can certainly be made that he hasn’t been beaten decisively.
In January, Matthysse captured the WBC’s interim title when he knocked out Mike Dallas Jr. in one round, but the fight with Peterson was not contested with a title on the line, despite the fact that Peterson had been successful in a defense of his IBF crown against Kendall Holt in February. The contracted weight was 141 pounds, although Matthysse would have lost that interim title, which means very little, if he lost against Peterson. Welcome to the wonderful world of sanctioning bodies.
As he thrilled fight followers with his raw power on Saturday night, Matthysse took a big step toward the status that many of boxing’s biggest stars occupy, which is a level that renders the confusing maze of politics and multiple titles issued by the governing bodies moot. Most fans don’t care much about who is “interim,” “unified,” “Gold” or “Silver.” They care more about the power.
And “The Machine” gives it to them.