Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse kicked off the promotion for their welterweight bout in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Wednesday by attending a press conference in Manila. Pacquiao (59-7-2) won’t have fought in over a year when he steps into the ring with the rugged Matthysse (39-4) on July 14th. The Filipino multi-titlist last fought in July 2017, when he dropped a highly controversial decision to Jeff Horn in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, Australia. Yet Pacquiao, who is closing in on forty years of age, made it clear at the conference that he has no intention of retiring.
“My time is not done yet,” said Pacquiao. “That’s what I’m trying to prove.”
Pacquiao is so sure of his skill at his age that he stated he was interested in fighting Vasyl Lomachenko, who some say may be on his way to being the greatest boxer in history. “That’s one of my plans,” he said, “fighting Lomachenko.” Pacquiao also stated he wanted to fight in Manilia. “As long as it’s here in Manila,” he claimed, “no problem. It’s going to be exciting.”
Matthysse claimed he saw the Pacquiao fight as “an honor,” In fact, Matthysse made it clear that he respected his opponent. “He’s a legendary fighter,” the Argentine power puncher said of Pacquiao. Yet Matthysse also made it known he feels Pacquiao hasn’t been the same since being knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez back in 2012. “He’s still a great fighter,”Matthysse said of his foe, “but since the knockout of Marquez, he’s not the same fighter anymore.”
One huge point of interest was whether or not Pacquiao would have Freddie Roach in his corner. It was announced last week that Pacquiao had fired his long time trainer. Days later, however, Pacquiao came forward to say the report was false, that he had yet to make up his mind who he would employ as the head of his corner. “Freddie and I are like family,” he said, before indicating that his longtime sidekick, Buboy Fernandez, might indeed be his main trainer for the bout with Matthysse.
“Assuming I made the decision and chose Buboy Fernandez for this fight,” said Pacquiao, “I’m still not closing the door on Freddie.” Pacquiao indicated that he might eventually use Roach at a later date. “ For the next fight,” he said, “we can always go back to Freddie.” The fight with Matthysse will be for the WBA World Welterweight Title, a belt Matthysse has held since besting Tewa Kiram in January.
“Manny’s won so many titles,” Matthysse said. “I’ve only won one title and I’m not going to give it up. I’ll die for it if I have to.”