How Relevant is Manny Pacquiao Now?
By: Charles Jay
After Manny Pacquiao’s fight this past weekend, ESPN commentator Mark Kriegel declared that with his victory, he had “changed the configuration of boxing again.”
My first thought was that I didn’t know if I would characterize it quite like that, but there is no doubt that he is very much alive to do what he’s done so well throughout the last decade or so of his career, which is to make money, both for himself and his opponents.
Whether he is a real player in the battle for supremacy in his weight division is an entirely different question to be addressed.
Time and again, the ESPN announcers asserted that everybody wants to fight Pacquiao. Well, sure they do, because (a) He is a viable pay-per-view entity in a sport that doesn’t have many of them, and (b) The risk-vs.-reward quotient might be very much in their favor.
In other words, they can pick up a big win, and a lucrative one, in a fight they probably should not lose.
Pacquiao improved his record to 60-7-2 with his 39th early win in a 7th-round knockout of Lucas Matthysse, who was the WBA “regular” champion at 147 pounds. How significant was this victory? Well, that’s a good question, because Matthysse came in as the kind of opponent who seemed designed to make Pacquiao look good. He was slow, plodding, not all that skilled, not good enough defensively, no match for Pacquiao’s speed, and thus in no position to counterpunch.
He also didn’t exactly come to wage war. His approach appeared to be geared toward loading up for one power punch – which he is capable of delivering – but was seemingly frustrated that it didn’t happen. No, we can’t get into a fighter’s head, and we can’t gauge how hard certain punches hurt, but he looked as if he was looking for a way out after being hit with a half-hook, half-jab in the fifth round (almost immediately after showing more resistance than he had previously) and then stayed on one knee when one would have thought he could get up, following a Pacquiao uppercut in the seventh.
I thought Teddy Atlas was on the mark when he said that Pacquiao got the job done, and did what he had to do, but did not have a whole lot in front of him (RIGHT in front of him, we might add, for whole fight). You can’t really fault him for any of this, and he did show a lot of energy.
And don’t underestimate the moral boost he may have gotten by scoring his first win inside the distance since the Miguel Cotto fight in 2009.
So the natural question is “Who’s next?”
Pacquiao was asked that in the ring after the fight. He couldn’t just say “I’ll have to talk to my promoter,” because he is, for all intents and purposes, his own promoter now. So he didn’t get specific.
I think the truth is, he doesn’t really know.
There are three champions of note in the welterweight division:
* WBO – Terence Crawford 33-0, 24 KO’s
* IBF – Errol Spence 24-0, 21 KO’s
* WBA – Keith Thurman 28-0, 22 KO’s
Crawford would seem the most likely opponent of those three, because of the connection that still exists between Pacquiao and Top Rank’s Bob Arum. And for that reason, there is also the possibility of Vasyl Lomachenko, who is currently the WBA’s lightweight champ. For a fight like that to happen, there would have to be a meeting somewhere in the middle as far as weight is concerned.
Some might argue this, but Pacquiao isn’t likely to advance his career against any of those three welterweight champs. There is some intrigue against Loma, since there is a built-in handicap, as the Ukranian began his career as a featherweight and would be making quite a leap. But at the same time, he is the kind of whirlwind that Pacquaio may have been once, but isn’t now. The punches he landed against Matthyssee aren’t nearly as likely to find their target against any of these guys.
There is that other possibility, which is a rematch with Jeff Horn, who beat him controversially in Brisbane a year ago. There still has to be something sticking in Pacquiao’s craw about that fight, enough so that one of the reasons he cut himself loose from Freddie Roach – allegedly – is that Roach did not complain about Horn’s rough tactics during the fight, instead waiting until after the bout to do so (where it didn’t do a whole lot of good), then adding some other commentary that was largely unwanted.
Horn lost rather decisively to Crawford, but he has credentials for this purpose because of the win over Pacquiao. And almost as soon as Pac-Man got out of the ring, Horn was calling him out. There was a rematch clause in the contract, which Pacquiao did not exercise immediately because of his duties as a senator in the Philippines. And Horn’s promoter, Dean Lonergan, thinks that Pacquiao’s performance this past weekend makes his guy’s win look all that much better.
Maybe so, but according to reports, including one coming out of the Los Angeles Times, Pacquiao might try to give it a go in the United States again to fight one of Arum’s guys. He’s got problems with the IRS, which will take some of his money, so I’ll believe it when I see it.
And besides, the big edge for Manny in any negotiations is that HE is the pay-per-view draw, and thus the gateway to big money. None of these five prospective opponents we’ve mentioned can say that they have carried a pay-per-view event. That means Pacquiao has the ability to dictate deal points like where the fight would be held, and Arum admitted as much. And his “independence” as a promoter unto himself might make his word final.
We know that Horn, at this moment, is in the midst of talks with Anthony Mundine, the ex-rugby player who has held a WBA super middleweight title and a WBC and WBA super welterweight title. This fight would presumably be at 154 pounds, and Horn would be expected to come out the winner. He’ll also make upwards of $4 million, because these guys can fill a stadium.
So he’s got the luxury of being able to grab a big payday even after a pretty one-sided loss, something a lot of guys don’t have. But even if that fight happens, I wouldn’t disqualify a subsequent fight with Pacquiao, in or out of Australia. Remember, none of the fighters who are bigger threats to Pac-Man are enough of a draw that they would necessarily steer him away from a fight with Horn, from a dollars-and-cents perspective. While Pacquiao-Horn II may not be of ultimate importance on the world stage, it will be extremely important to Manny’s constituency (pardon the pun), which would be pretty sizable.
And in every fighter’s mind, there is that thought of “getting the win back” when they think it was unfairly snatched from them.
This decision is very much in Pacquiao’s hands. He IS the promoter, isn’t he?
And you can bet those aforementioned world-beaters will be keenly interested in what he decides.
Considering how they’re are all thought to be emerging superstars, maybe Manny Pacquiao IS the most relevant guy out there – at least for the time being.
What’s Next for Pacquiao?
By: Oliver McManus
The clock was ticking, the guard began to change as star after star began to fade into the background but an ever present constant in the boxing hemisphere, Manny Pacquiao, was determined to shift the sands of time back into his favour last weekend as he faced Lucas Matthysse, in Malaysia, for yet another world title.
“He’s too old”, the doubters said. “Matthysse has too much power”, cried the naysayers. “Getting rid of Roach was a mistake”, echoed those who questioned Pac Man.
He paid no attention to the script, setting about what can only be described as a demolition job in crushing the Argentine in a manner akin to taking a hammer to a peanut. Matthysse landed a fair few half-decent punches but never looked like carrying a realistic threat to the legacy of Pacquiao and was dropped time after time before the contest was waived off in the seventh round.
What next for Pacquiao, then?
Seems harsh to suggest in the immediate aftermath of such a scintillating performance – his first knockout victory since 2009 – but retirement does seem to be a genuine option for the Filipino with the huge money making fights seemingly few and far between and with increasingly more risk to the ageing eight-weight world champion.
The legacy of Pacquiao is solidified with the defining moment seeming to always be characterised by his series of fights with Juan Manuel Marquez so there’s no real need for the legendary fighter to carry on and risk becoming a Roy Jones Jr figure – albeit at a higher level and not against guys such as Bobby Gunn, Rodney Moore and that respective ilk.
It’s not as though the 39 year old is without other options, boxing is very much a secondary focus as things stand in Pacquiao’s life with his priority being politics – elected as a senator in his home country, Pacquiao has a minimum term until 2022 which, in itself, makes preparing and organising fights relatively difficult.
And let’s be clear this was probably Pacquiao’s best performance in six or seven years and there will always be the eternal question regarding his age and stamina – he proved his doubters wrong on Saturday but as we saw against Horn there is a distinct blueprint for beating Pacquiao and he’s ripe for the taking – so what better a night than to call it quits, retire as a world champion with plaudits aplenty.
On the distinct polar opposite vein you could argue that because Pacquiao looked so good that in itself is all you need to back-up a call for him to continue – whether that’s papering up the cracks or not is something we’ll find out as and when future bouts happen – and an immediate fight that springs to mind is Amir Khan.
Big in the States and big in the United Kingdom, Amir Khan is of an ideal profile for a mega fight with mega dollars to boot – it could also see Pacquiao in the United Kingdom for the first time though such is the statue of the guy we’d likely only see him for a press conference over here as opposed to the actual bout.
Let’s not forget that the pair were scheduled to fight on April 23rd last year in the United Arab Emirates before the bout was called off but the desire to see the two meet in the ring has not dampened and if anything the flame has only burned brighter since Khan’s successful comeback.
For Khan, who has more options than Kell Brook, this is a perfect opportunity to return to the world title scene and, in all honesty, it’s possibly the easiest champion he’d have to face in the division which is saying quite something.
Amir has been there, too, he’s no stranger to these big fights and even though he lost, viciously, to Canelo, he put up a really good showing and there’s no doubt that against Pacquiao we could witness a tremendous, 50-50 fight with styles meshing.
From that knockout loss to Canelo, mind, Pacquiao will be able to take immense confidence especially off the back of such a convincing beat-down of Lucas Matthysse. Couple in the notorious “glass chin” that Khan is often accused of having, the risk for Pacquiao would be relatively big but the reward would be phenomenal – Khan is possibly one of the biggest names that the Filipino could face whilst still possessing the tag as favourite.
For me this is a fight that simply has to happen.
Dropping down a weight division to super lightweight there is the possibility of facing Vasyl Lomachenko in yet another HUGE fight – Lomachenko needs no introduction so I won’t bother giving him one but it’s fair to say that a fight of this magnitude would invoke memories of Pacman’s contest with Mayweather and supersede the sport of boxing in becoming a sheer event for the pubic, fans or not.
Loma is out until December at least following shoulder surgery and Pacquiao has hinted at wanting to drop back to super-lightweight for some time now so the build-up for the potential clash would no doubt capture the imagination of the boxing world.
A clash with Lomachenko is the only bout that could have a positive impact on how we look back on Pacquiao’s career in 10 years – any other opponents are merely extra icing on the already lavishly decorated cake that are his 23 years as a professional boxer – but the Ukrainian provides a test that is unlike any other, a living legend, a walking Hall-of-Famer, a fighter who is, frankly, a freak of nature.
Lomachenko would be the best opponent since Floyd Mayweather and there’s a reasonable argument to be made that he’d be the best opponent INCLUDING Floyd Mayweather, at least in retrospect, and would enter the fight as a favourite but if Pacquiao is determined to prove, once and for all, that he IS back then this is the sort of challenge he really needs to be looking at.
The question that gets raised when you talk about this fight – potentially held at catchweight – is whether Manny really looked that good against Matthysse or if he was simply the least washed up of the two boxers as whilst it was a very accomplished performance you’d be hard pushed to say the Matthysse that turned up was on his A game.
It’s a risk, yes, but is it a risk worth taking?
I’ve opted for Jeff Horn to fill this last section although I was tempted to select Terence Crawford instead but Horn gets the edge because there is history in that encounter, we all know what happened in Australia and this would be a perfect opportunity to silence his critics from that night and prove it was a fluke loss.
Over here in the United Kingdom endless repeats of their first fight were being shown on the broadcaster and, make no mistake, there wasn’t anything like the outrage shown in America with regards to the scoring but this is a fight that would sell, literally, to all four corners of the globe; you’ve got the Australian market who will be fervently routing for their home hero, the America’s backing Pacquiao and the Brit’s / European’s who love nothing more than a rematch with a bit of needle so in terms of marketability, this fight has it all.
Redemption is a factor that can never be over-stated because looking back on his career, Pacquiao is not a man who will be satisfied with a perceived injustice if there was a possibility to put such a situation to bed and we’ve seen immediately after their contest in February last year that Pacquiao wanted the rematch so his self-belief is there.
Horn, himself, is looking for an avenue back to the big time after getting soundly beaten by Crawford and the fight against Pacquiao is the instant avenue to go down because, for him, if he can pull of the “miracle” a second time then who can doubt him, immediately goes away all the criticism from their first encounter.
A snagging point in this whole deal is the style of Horn, it’s not exactly conducive to a performance that will knock your socks off because even if Pacquiao is able to control every second of every round, he’s going to emerge with a bruised and bloodied face such is the aggressive nature of the Australian – the less sound about his leading head, the better – so whilst emotionally and sentimentally the fight may be seen as a win, stylistically and in terms of future stock, it’s hard to see Pacquiao emerge looking any sharper than the fight at the weekend.
Time after time we’ve sat here and idolised about what could be next for such an icon of the sport and time after time he’s delivered the complete unexpected, the only thing we can ever take for granted with Manny Pacquiao is that he will never duck an opponent and he will always bring his all to a fight.
What more could you ask for from an all-time great? Wherever he goes next, even if he doesn’t fight again, let’s just take a minute to bask in his shadows because for now, at least, this warrior is taking a one-man stand against the surge of young pretenders and, boy, is he holding his own when everyone and their dog seems to be writing him off.
Pacquiao vs. Matthysse Fight Quotes
Future Hall of Famer and Filipino superstar Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (60-7-2, 38 KOs) scored a seventh-round knockout victory against Argentine knockout artist Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs) to capture the WBA Welterweight World Title at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Pacquiao scored a knockdown in round three with a left uppercut, and then forced Matthysse to take a knee in the fifth round with a shot to the temple. Pacquiao dropped Matthysse with another left uppercut in the seventh round, forcing referee Kenny Bayless to end matters at 2:43 of the aforementioned round.
“I was surprised because Matthysse is a very tough opponent and I knocked him down,” said Manny Pacquiao. “So that’s a bonus from being focused and patient in the fight and working hard in training camp. We [my team] did a good job in training. We controlled ourselves during training. It was a heavy training. Thanks to all my team for working hard for this fight.
“That’s another story and another discussion. Right now I’m happy to go back to my country in the Philippines and to celebrate my victory and of course with my fellow countrymen, doing my job as a public servant. We’re planning for that [returning this year]. But we haven’t decided yet. Right now my focus is to go back to my country and relax.”
“Fighting Manny Pacquiao [is the most difficult part about fighting Pacquiao],” said Lucas Matthysse. “He’s a great fighter. He’s a great champion. You win some, and you lose some. Today was my turn to lose, but I lost to a great fighter and a great legend in Manny Pacquiao. First I would like to rest and go back home. The hard work has been done. The fight has taken place. I lost, but I walk away with my head raised. I’m sorry to Argentina, but I’m fine. Thank you for all the love and support, and we’ll be seeing all my family and friends soon.”
Pacquiao Demolishes Matthysse In Seven
By: Sean Crose
Venezuela’s Carlos Canizalez, 20-0-1, opened up the ESPN+ live stream broadcast of the Manny Pacquiao-Lucas Matthysse fight by facing China’s 1-0 Bin Lu at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday night (American time). The bout, which was for a WBA version of the flyweight title, started in exciting style, with both fighters engaging fully and trading powerful shots. By the end of the fourth, however, the defending champion, Canizalez, starting working effectively on his man.
Photo Credit: ESPN Twitter Account
By the middle of the fight it was clear that Canizalez was the stronger of the two while Lu Bin would occasionally reach in to land. Canizalez worked the body, and the by the ninth, Lu Bin was visibly weakening. Canizalez hammered his man again in the 11th. Lu Bin as game and not without skill, but he was still the victim of a technical knockdown in the round (the ropes held the man up). With just seconds left in the 12th , Canizalez sent his man to the mat. Lu Bin got up, but the referee stopped the fight.
Next up came a featherweight bout for another WBA title. Edivaldo Ortega, 26-1-1, of Mexico was facing the 21-0 Jhack Tempora for the vacant belt. Tempora came out swinging in the first. Right off the bat, the man was engaging in effective body work. Ortega looked better in the second, but Tempora ended the round rather strong. The first third of the fight proved to be tight and close, but Tempora looked to have the edge.
Ortega gained ground over the next few rounds, but by the sixth Tempora was able to work from range.
Things remained close…until the ninth when Tempora dropped his man. Ortega got up, but Tempora wasn’t going to let him go. Letting loose with this punches, Tempora stopped Ortega before round’s end.
It was time for the main event. Pacquiao, 59-7-2, stepped into the ring to face Matthysse, 39-4-0, for yet another WBA belt, this time in the welterweight division. Matthysse never had a chance. The Argentine landed well on several occasions, but Pacquiao proved to be a tsunami, completely overwhelming his man. The first round saw the Filipino dominating. Matthysse fought well enough in the second, but Pacquiao still had the edge. By the third, Matthysse was down for the first time. He got up, but Pacquiao was flurrying so aggressively that the titlist couldn’t mount anything consistent.
Still, Matthysse held his own in the fourth. He didn’t do enough to win the round, though. By the fifth, Pacquiao made his man take a knee. The sixth was a close, but not close enough to give to Matthysse. And by the seventh, it was all over. Anyone with eyes could see it was only matter of time, but at just over the two and a half minute mark of the round, Matthysse was sent to the mat for the last time. Pacquiao had his first knockout win in years.
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Pacquiao vs. Matthysse
By: William Holmes
On Saturday Manny Pacquiao will be co-promoting his next fight with Golden Boy Promotions at Kuala Lumpur, Malyasia and will be fighting in the United States on ESPN+. Pacquiao’s long time promoter, Top Rank, is involved with the distribution of the fight in the United States but is not assuming their normal promoting duties for Pacquiao.
Not only is Pacquiao not using the full services of Top Rank Promotions, but he’s also entering this fight without the assistance of his long time hall of fame trainer, Freddie Roach.
Pacquiao has already stated that this will not be his last fight, but a loss here could seriously hamper his drawing power as a money fighter. He’s also facing a strong puncher with knockout power in the welterweight division.
Three other title fights are also on this card. Carlos Canizales will be defending his WBA “Regular” Junior Flyweight Title against Bin Lu. Moruti Mthalane and Muhammad Waseem will be fighting for the vacant IBF Flyweight Title. Also, Jhack Tepora will be facing Edivaldo Ortega for the vacant WBA Interim Featherweight Title.
The following is a preview of the main fight of the night between Lucas Matthysse and Manny Pacquiao for the WBA “Regular” Welterweight title.
Lucas Matthysse (39-4) vs. Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2); WBA “Regular” Welterweight Title
Manny Pacquiao has been featured on 23 PPV fights and for a long time was one of boxing’s most popular draws. However, he’s thirty nine years old and turns forty in December and this will be his second consecutive fight not on PPV.
His drawing power in the United States is waning, and he’s taking on a risky fight after his controversial, and outright terrible, decision loss to Jeff Horn.
Pacquiao is four years older than Matthysse and will be giving up an inch in height and two inches in reach. Pacquiao has 38 knockouts in his resume and Matthysse has 36, but Pacquiao hasn’t had a stoppage victory since he defeated Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Pacquiao only fought one time in 2017 and twice in 2016, but Matthysse has only fought once in 2018 and once in 2017. Both boxers haven’t been very active recently.
Matthysse power can be devastating. He has defeated the likes of Tewa Kiram, Emmanuel Taylor, Ruslan Providnikov, Roberto Ortiz, John Monlina Jr., Lamont Peterson, Mike Dallas Jr., and DeMarcus Corley. He has disputable losses to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander and clearer losses to Danny Garcia and Viktor Postol.
Pacquiao doesn’t fight with the same blind rage that he used to when he was younger, but he still possess good speed and movement. He has four losses in his past nine fights. Some of his more notable losses were to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley Jr., and Erik Morales.
His wins include Jessie Vargas, Timothy Bradley Jr., Chris Algieri, Brandon Rios, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Osca De La Hoya, Maco Antonio Barrera, and Erik Morales.
Father time is catching up with Pacquiao and he’s not taking on an easy opponent in a non-ppv fight. Luckily for Pacquiao Matthysse isn’t as big of a welterweight as Jeff Horn, but he still packs a lot of power in his punch.
Can Pacquiao still hang with the best in the welterweight division? A lot of boxing pundits are saying no. His fight with Matthysse should give us a more definitive answer to that question.
Mano a Mano, Manny a Mano
By: Oliver McManus
Mano a mano, or should we say Manny a mano? Basically what I’m trying to say is Manny Pacquaio is BACK in the ring this weekend as he vies for yet another world title – the WBA Welterweight belt – in a battle with, Argentine champion, Lucas Martin Matthysse.
Fighting for the first time since his, allegedly controversial, loss to Jeff Horn last July, Pacquiao is again fighting away from home with this super-bout taking place in the Middle-Eastern hub of Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.
The Filipino eight-weight world champion will be competing in his 69th bout and aged 39, nearly 40, there is a genuine concern that whilst he may still love being in the ring, the ring may not love having him in there and I say that because against Horn, whether you like it or not, he looked a shadow of his former self with his defence being easily penetrated, his footwork visibly slower and his head getting muddled relatively easily.
Of course being of such a supreme ability means that even the slightest dip in quality will be magnified a thousand times and let’s not suddenly believe that Pac Man is a bad fighter overnight, he’s not, he still possesses quality that many fighters could only ever dream of and what you can never takeaway is the fight intelligence that the 5’5.5 fighter has.
Most notable, in terms of differences, is the lack of Freddie Roach in the corner of the Filipino with Pacquiao seeking to go down a different route despite having secured his highest of successes with his iconic trainer and has, instead, opted to have Buboy Fernandez coach him in the build up to this fight.
A natural talent burgeoning with aggression and a glee for the sport, Pacquiao will go about this bout no different to any that came previously, he will seek to dictate the pace of the fight from the early stages, cutting off the ring whilst jumping in and out of all four corners and flurrying his trademark body punches with grit and desire.
The question mark around such a star is not whether he still possesses the ability, he will always have that, but rather one of how faded he has become? If anyone can beat father time, however, the father of boxing is surely that guy.
For a man coming off the back of such a bloody, brutal loss to Jeff Horn, Matthysse is one hell of a risk with La Maquina being one of the most vicious punchers currently in action, certainly a man with bad intentions who goes into fights wholeheartedly expecting a knockout.
Widely touted as the next big thing, Matthysse’s career took a bit of a bump when he was narrowly out-pointed by Danny Garcia in September 2013 and whilst the rebuild from that went well he was comfortably beaten by Viktor Postol, via 10th round TKO, in October of 2015.
This is a guy who loses to the elite and only the elite – Zab Judah and Devon Alexander are the only other names to have bested the 35 year old – and in his hand, boy does he possess some power. There’s an argument to be made that Matthysse has hands made of bricks such is the extent of his demolition.
Against Tewa Kiram, at The Forum, in January of this year we witnessed an incredible display as with the right hand sending Kiram down to the canvas in the eight before a murderous left finished the job within the same stanza to set up this legacy-defining contest with Pacquiao.
At his best when involved with a brawl, the Argentinian is capable of making even the dirtiest, feistiest, most fearsome of scraps look like a majestic work of art with his elusive body movement, tempestuous shot selection and vicious intent marking him out as a guy you do not want to let into any sort of a rhythm.
This reminds me of a gentle watercolour of a raging bull running through the streets of Pamplona, Pacquiao the artist, Matthysse the bull. But who is it that can claim the glory for such a visual spectacle, the artist or the bull?
We’ll find out on Saturday.
Pacquiao Understudy and Sparring Partner George Kambosos Jr. Puts In The Rounds, Eyes His Own World Title Campaign
By Vishare Mooney
He’s been busy. In the last 14 months, undefeated Greek Australian fighter George ‘Ferocious’ Kambosos Jr. (14-0, 8 KOs), left Australia to train in the U.S., made his American debut with a stunning first round knockout of Jose Forero and trained in two world title camps (Pacquiao vs. Horn, Pacquiao vs. Matthysse). With his eyes clearly set on the prize, a world title, Kambosos Jr. has also found a friend and mentor in Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs), boxing’s most heralded 8-division world champion, having now sparred over 110 rounds with the legendary fighter.
The 25-year-old Kambosos Jr., who shares a coach with Pacquiao in former world title contender Justin Fortune and who is managed by Lou DiBella, will fight Filipino fighter JR “Star Boy” Magboo (17-1-2, 8 KOs) in the featured undercard of the Pacquiao-Matthysse WBA welterweight title fight in Kuala Lampur, this Saturday, July 14th on ESPN+. It was Pacquiao who insisted on adding his constant sparring partner, Kambosos Jr. on the already packed undercard roster. I caught up with Kambosos Jr. via videoconference, just days ahead of his fight and talked about his friendship with Manny, training regimen and goals for his own world title campaign.
Kambosos Jr. discussed why Pacquiao called on him again as a sparring partner. “I think he sees a younger version in myself, except for that I’m an orthodox fighter. We both train extremely hard, we both need to be pulled back by Justin Fortune, our coach at times to slow down. We both have the same mentality. He sees a young Manny Pacquiao in myself, so that’s how I got the opportunity. He wants to help my career as well. What better guy than the guy that’s done the most in boxing history” Kambosos Jr. added, “I think Manny will play a vital role in my future and my career, along side my promoter and my team.”
The camp was his second in 14 months. Kambosos Jr. was part of the Pacquiao vs. Horn team last summer. He said he is “still sore from the disappointment of the Horn fight” and adjustments have been made this time around. “We trained a lot smarter, pulled back on certain things, take a day off for rest, do some different kind of recovery, take a lighter session in the gym. I feel fresher during this camp. I feel great and I know Manny does as well. He will be ready for the fight on Sunday. There will be no excuses. Everything is ready to go.”
When Kambosos Jr. fights this weekend, it will have only been ten weeks since his last fight in May. He said it is the fastest turn around of his career and he likes it that way. He had trained hard for his American debut against Jose Forero, amassing over 150 sparring rounds prior to the swift win by TKO. By June, he was once again on a plane to the Philippines to reunite with Pacquiao. And after their first sparring session, got put on the undercard.
I asked Kambosos Jr. if he was at all nervous about his upcoming fight. “No, I have been sparring an all time great, the god of fighting. He’s Manny Pacquiao. I have been going toe to toe with Pacquiao not only on this camp but the last camp, that’s like over hundred something rounds together. I am more than ready for this fight. I’m excited for the challenge. And I know that I can’t afford any slip-ups. I need to make another good statement.”
What does he know of his opponent, JR Magboo? “He’s a tough Filipino. He’s 17-1. Knows his way around the ring. I research every fighter that I come across. I even research guys that I’m not fighting and could be fighting in the future so I look at everything. I’ve trained so hard I feel like I’m fighting Matthysse alongside Pacquiao.”
“As soon as I get in some shots, he (Magboo) is going to feel everything that I have done in camp and I’m coming for the knock out – that’s what I’m chasing. “
Kambosos Jr. seems to be keenly aware of the significance of this moment, his time with Pacquiao and his boxing career trajectory. On his quest to a world title, he has come a long way from being the chubby, bullied kid in Australia. “I was an obese kid, bullied, picked on, always picked last. If there was a joke it was going to be on me, So I just wanted to change my life. As soon as I started doing boxing the weight came off, my confidence got much better. I had a few school fights. Hurt them, beat up a few people, they realized, ok this guy can fight, we’re going to leave him alone. And now the rest if history.”
“Now look where I am, world ranked fighter, huge fan base, Manny Pacquiao’s chief sparring partner. I get to fight on a huge show like this…it’s incredible the journey I’ve had. But you know, I already envision the future I will have, not only as a world champion, but multiple champion, unified champion.”
Kambosos Jr. trains for each fight as if he were in a world title fight. “Before I had my pro debut, a good friend of mine said, look, now you’re a pro, treat every fight like a world title fight because it is. Every step is getting close to the world title. That’s the ambition, that’s the end goal. “
“I have been fortunate to be a part of proper world title camps. And so I have taken what Manny does in his training and added it to my game. I know what it takes at that level. I have trained alongside a legend in the sport, and I’m ready to have my own world title camp in the very near future.”
Oscar De La Hoya Quotes Ahead of Pacquiao-Matthysse
Oscar De La Hoya:
Lucas is a strong and determined fighter. Believe me that he is a very determined fighter. The mental aspect is the most important aspect of this fight. We know that Lucas Matthysse works very hard. They call him “La Maquina” for a reason. He is still training like never before. The fact that he always wanted this fight, a dream fight for him—believe me he will be in the best condition for this. He is very focused. This is an even fight. This is a dangerous but winnable fight. These two fighters love pleasing the fans. They are come-forward fighters. This fight will have a lot of action.
A lot of people think that Lucas Matthysse is just a knockout artist. But he’s an intelligent fighter too. He knows how to box and counterpunch. This fight is interesting in terms of styles. The people who really know boxing know that Matthysse can change his style and even confuse him. He may even be able to confuse him and land some counterpunches.
Photo Credit: Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions
Pacquiao has a very unique style. When I fought him, I thought he was going to get tired. He never got tired. So, I don’t know what Pacquiao we are going to see for this fight. I don’t know how distracted he may be. I do know that Matthysse is fully focused and determined. This is the fight of his life. It’s all going to depend on how Pacquiao reacts when the first bell rings. Will it be a distracted Pacquiao? Or a Pacquiao that everyone is used to seeing? That’s why the odds are 2-1. It is a great fight.
I was already a promoter when I fought him. So, I’ve always been very optimistic that I would still be working with Manny after so many years. I always felt that life comes around full circle and puts us together. The fact that Manny has his own promotional company and the fact that Golden Boy Promotions has been involved in so many of his fights made me optimistic that we would work together again. I’m still hoping that we promote more fights together. Once he’s retired, we can do a lot more together.
I noticed Pacquiao was special when part of the promotions of Pacquiao vs. Barrera. What I saw was his determination. His conditioning was incredible. His explosiveness was incredible. He had a great work ethic. He was very well prepared. I really don’t know how he is now. In boxing, you’re as good as your last fight. That’s what boxing is. That’s why this fight is important for Pacquiao to show that he is still the same Manny Pacquiao. You have to perform and show the people that you still have it. This is a sink or swim type of fight for both guys.
If I were Lucas, I would not get frustrated because Pacquiao can frustrate you. He can do that because he throws so many punches. Lucas has to be cool, calm and collected. He has to force the action. He has to show Manny that he is younger, stronger and fresher. If you don’t show that to Manny, he can walk all over you. That’s who he is. That’s why he’s so good.
I am very proud of promoting stronger and diplomatic cultural ties with our Asian neighbors. I would like to thank our friends at Golden Boy Promotions, represented by our friend Oscar De La Hoya. I am ready. I have never predicted the outcome of any of my fights, but this training camp is special for many reasons. I am motivated. I am happy. I am hungry. I am excited to show the world a new Manny Pacquiao on July 15 (July 14 in the US) at the Axiata Arena here in Kuala Lumpur.”
I’m grateful to be a part of this event. I want to thank Manny Pacquiao and his team. He is a great fighter and a legend. His team is great and professional. I want to thank Golden Boy for giving me the opportunity to work with a lot of elite fighters as is the case now with Lucas Matthysse.
Pac’s Back- And Top Rank is Still Around
By: Charles Jay
I imagine many of you have Facebook, with a healthy number of boxing friends on your news feed. What I see on mine, constantly, are fighters who can’t come up with enough complaints about promoters. Dirty, greedy people – who needs them, right? They show equal disdain for matchmakers and booking agents. Many of them are out of work, boxing-wise, which might explain some of the vitriol. Yes, their frustration is at times understandable, but the truth of the matter is, not a lot of fighters have made any money at all without someone promoting a fight.
I usually have a very simple answer for them – hey, there’s no law against you guys putting on your own show, or pooling your resources to do so.
There almost was, you know; back when Sen. John McCain was pushing his bill for national regulation of boxing, he had to agree at one point to a compromise with his Democratic counterpart Harry Reid of Nevada, who was being lobbied by promoters within his own jurisdiction who were protecting their own interests. So the idea of fighters being able to being their own promoters was taken off the table (except for those who were grandfathered in).
That particular bill never passed.
As a result, fighters continue to be allowed to both manage themselves and also promote themselves, and those who have reached a sufficient level of success can pull it off. We’ve seen this happening in recent years – Lennox Lewis had Lion Promotions, and of course Floyd Mayweather has his own promotional outfit, although he hired other promoters to do the “nuts and bolts” on the events. Winky Wright, a recent Hall of Fame inductee, ventured into this somewhat less successfully.
Most famously, Oscar De La Hoya, in the process of breaking away from Bob Arum and Top Rank, formed Golden Boy Promotions to create some independence for himself, and while his popularity as an active fighter was essential to leveraging dates out of networks, which was necessary to help the company take off, Golden Boy has certainly survived beyond that and become a full-fledged entity on its own. Mayweather Promotions would like to be able to duplicate that for the long term.
This won’t make me popular in promotional circles, but every fighter of any stature may want to consider such a thing; again, if they have the leverage to make it work. Which brings us to the case of Manny Pacquiao.
Some of you may not be aware of this, but Pacquiao has actually been a “promoter” of sorts for years, and through his company, MP Promotions, he’s had a deal with Top Rank that brought him something in the neighborhood of 27.5% of all revenues from his fights (that includes not only pay-per-view, but also live gate, sponsorship, foreign TV, etc.) and I imagine, this was for the most part against a guarantee. In effect, he was a promotional partner.
That was not really a “risk” situation for him. He brought the “talent” portion, while Top Rank took care of everything that was outside of the ring.
Now it’s a bit different. MP Promotions is the lead promoter for Saturday’s fight with WBA “regular” welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KO’s) that is taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And there’s a little more risk involved, as in risk that the fight would fall out unless Pacquiao’s company was able to guarantee the $3 million that was to go to Matthysse and his promoter, Golden Boy, and put it in escrow. Reportedly that led to some anxious moments, although the Pacquiao camp expresses that it was never any problem.
This kind of arrangement came about because of a dispute about Pacquaio’s contract with Top Rank. PacMan announced in March that the paper had expired. As his attorney explained it, the fight with Jeff Horn in Australia was the last one in the deal. Bob Arum maintained otherwise. And this came in the aftermath of an offer made by Arum for Pacquiao to fight Mike Alvarado on the undercard of Horn’s fight with Terrence Crawford, which he considered an “insult.”
There was a little mud-slinging from one of Pacquiao’s publicists, Aquiles Zonio, who said that Arum was trying to disrupt the fight by planting seeds of doubt with the Malaysian interests who had put the money together, and that in the past, knowing that Pacquiao had irreconcilable problems with the IRS, he had “sabotaged” efforts to fight outside the States.
So as you can see, there’s some bad blood circulating.
But not enough to prevent business from forging ahead.
You see, like some of the other fighters who wanted to turn into promoters, and who may have become do-it-yourselfers only to facilitate their own fights and nothing else, Pacquiao realizes that he doesn’t really have the infrastructure to carry off a first-class promotion from Point A to Point Z.
So while we’re not sure what the whole contract status really is, Top Rank is still around.
According to Arum, his company is there to “handle the logistics (through my old USA Network colleague, Brad Jacobs), handle the undercard and handle the television,” which means they’re handling an awful lot. He wasn’t going to make a move, however, until Pacquiao got his money in place, and everybody tells me he wouldn’t have been too upset if that hadn’t happened, since he would have liked to put together Matthysse with Crawford.
And so we move forward. Pacquiao has the fight being simulcast on all three major TV networks in the Philippines, ensuring maximum visibility. And in the U.S., Arum has placed it on ESPN Plus, where he gets $2 million a show. Sales for that app are said to be slow, so we’re not really sure how many viewers they’re actually going to have.
This is not PPV-dependent, and Pacquiao, who is said to have pocketed $160 million for his fight with Floyd Mayweather, will probably get in the neighborhood of $10 million for this. But then again, he’s the promoter, right? So he could also make more on the “upside.” And he’ll be without Freddie Roach for the first time in a while, as Buboy Fernandez took over the camp.
If Manny wins, there is almost no doubt that he’ll continue to fight. And if he does, we wonder if these little battles with Top Rank will continue to take place.
QUICK NEWS AND NOTES: Speaking of fighters who became promoters, here’s one who DOES handle the whole show, all the way down to the details – Steve Forbes, the former IBF junior lightweight champion, has announced that he is back in Portland with his company, 2Pound Sports & Entertainment, as they will do their second show at the Jackson Armory. The maiden voyage in December combined amateur and pro bouts. Forbes won his title in 2000 over John Brown and lost consecutive decisions to Oscar De La Hoya and Andre Berto back in 2008………………
Jermaine Franklin (16-0, 13 KO’s), the 2014 National Golden Gloves super heavyweight champion, will try to stay unbeaten on Friday night at the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit as he faces local guy Craig Lewis (14-2-1, 8 KOs) in a ten-rounder. “He keeps getting better and better and better,” says promoter Mike Acri of Franklin, who is from Saginaw, MI and recorded two amateur wins over Cam F. Awesome, who won the trials for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team…………….
ONE Championship, which regularly engages in MMA, kickboxing and Muay Thai competitions and is a huge success in the Asian TV market, has announced that it is entering the boxing arena, and they have pulled off a major coup by inking a deal with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the WBC super flyweight (115-lb.) champion, who has two significant wins over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, which puts him on many of the top ten “pound for pound” lists. Pacquiao bought a stake in the company back in 2014.
Pacquiao Returns (Without Roach) To Face Matthysse
By: Sean Crose
They were the hottest team in all of boxing. The Filipino legend, and the former pro from working class Massachusetts. The ailing mentor and his explosive protege. Yes, Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach made for quite the duo for a very long period of time. Determined to make it in the sport of boxing, Pacquiao traveled across the Pacific Ocean to the United States, where Roach found an oversize diamond in the rough. The rest, as they say, is history. Countless titles. Countless wars. Explosive finishes. And money, tons and tons of money. Now, though, the relationship between the aging great, Pacquiao, and his longtime trainer, Roach, is over – at least temporarily.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account
This weekend, those who are willing to pay money for the pleasure of ESPNs streaming service, ESPN+, will be able to watch Pacquiao face off against fellow aging fighter Lucas Matthysse of Argentina. As Yahoo’s Kevin Iole puts it, the bout will “likely will be seen by far fewer than 100,000 viewers in the U.S. ESPN has no places to release subscriber numbers for ESPN+, or viewership of any particular event.” The fight, which is going down in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was supposed to be on pay per view, but money problems prevented that from happening. No doubt the ratings would be huge if Pacquiao and Matthysse battled on regular ESPN, but the days of such things may be over. After making a celebrated agreement to showcase boxing on regular cable, promoter Bob Arum and ESPN have apparently decided fans are going to pay to see the big names once again (the impressive, and it is impressive, ESPN+ only runs about five bucks a month – for now).
Times have indeed changed. This might be most clearly evident in the absence of Roach from this event. It will be strange not seeing the man in Pacquiao’s corner, offering advice to his prized fighter while refusing to let Parkinson’s disease keep him from plying his own trade. Rather than having Roach in his corner right now, Pacquiao has placed his long time sidekick, Buboy Frenandez, in the general’s slot. The results of this pairing may be interesting, for the truth is that reports of Pacquiao’s complete collapse as a top fighter might have been greatly exaggerated over the past few years. On top of that, Matthysse has been on a bit of a comeback as of late and is rightfully known as a warrior in the ring. Will Buboy deliver if things get searing? Or has Pacquiao more or less decided to be his own cornerman, a combination fighter/trainer, who only needs people to offer him water and cut treatment if need be?
What’s perhaps most jarring about all this is the fact that Pacquiao seems – on the surface of things – to have been rather cold to Roach, his ailing former mentor. Roach reportedly was never informed by Pacquiao of Pacquiao’s decision. It just happened. Word is Manny was unhappy with Roach, but no one really knows what the truth is. The one reality, it seems, is that professional courtesy was not involved with Pacquiao’s decision to move on sans Roach for the Matthysse fight. For what it’s worth, Pacquiao says he might employ Roach again. Pacquiao’s career has taken a strange turn, however, and it’s unclear how many fights he has left. He’s a senator in his homeland, and he’s not getting any younger.
As for Matthysse – he probably couldn’t have hoped for a better match. The man was high on the lists of many analysts until he got bested by Philly’s Danny Garcia in 2013. Then, several years later, he was beaten soundly by the skilled Ukrainian Viktor Postol. He took some time off, and has since returned with two wins, his last one being a knockout of undefeated Tewa Kiram in January. He’s an exciting fighter, Matthysse, one who may make things exciting when he faces Pacquiao, whose last bout was a highly controversial loss to hometown hero Jess Horn in Brisbane, Austrailia last summer.
Pacquiao (59-7-2) will be facing Matthysse (39-4-0) for Matthysse’s version of a WBA welterweight title when the opening bell rings on Saturday night. The ESPN+ broadcast begins at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time.
Does Manny Pacquiao Have One Last Fight in Him?
By: Bryant Romero
Does the Great Manny Pacquiao have one last great fight in him? Promoter Bob Arum posed that question to fans on his twitter account and the boxing world will find out this Saturday in an unusual site for a Manny Pacquiao fight. Kuala Lumpur at the Axiata Arena in Malaysia is the site for Pacquiao’s next fight when he takes on dangerous puncher and current World Champion Lucas Martin Mathysse (39-4, 36 KOs) in what should be a thrilling fight between two fighters who’s best days may be behind them. Pacquaio (59-7-2, 38 KOs) is seeking his 60th victory in what has been a legendary but now declining career where he’s no longer the superstar he once was, but is out to prove that he was the true winner in his controversial loss last July to Jeff Horn and perhaps there is still a couple of great nights left in his incredible career.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account
Not only is the site of the fight different compared to many other Pacquiao fight weeks, but the Filipino icon is the lead promoter of the event. Bob Arum and Top Rank are simply just distributing the fight in the United States and it will be shown on the ESPN + app, which has indicated that perhaps Pacquiao and Arum seem to be at odds with each other. Pacquaio continues to tell the boxing press that he’s no longer affiliated with Top Rank and is currently a free agent. Arum of course has downplayed the situation and maintains that his company still has a working relationship with Manny.
This bout of course was not without controversy as in the weeks leading up into the event there were concerns that the event would be cancelled altogether as Pacquiao and his team missed numerous deadlines for payments. It wasn’t until early this month that Matthysse and his team were assured the money will put in place for his purse for the fight and now the fight is a go with Manny only slight favorite to defeat La Maquina.
Many believe Pacquiao defeated Jeff Horn last summer, but just 4 months shy from his 40th birthday, a long layoff, and facing a big puncher. It could be anyone’s guess on what Pacquaio truly has left for the 69th bout of his career.
Pacquiao fired his longtime trainer Freddie Roach and perhaps it was the right move now that Roach is no longer one of top trainers in the game. Buboy Fernandez his long time friend is now is head trainer and Buboy feels we will see a hungrier more dangerous Pacquiao, which could spell trouble for Matthysse.
Obviously, the Filipino legend is nowhere near the fighter he was 8 years ago, but Manny is still a capable fighter with loads of experience, speed, footwork, and tremendous skills. Expect an impressive performance from Manny as he will notch his 60th victory and perhaps even end his knockout drought in a fun fight with Matthysse in Malaysia.
July 14: Pacquiao-Matthysse WBA Welterweight Title Fight Exclusively on ESPN+
The next chapter in the storied career of former eight-division world champion and future first-ballot Hall of Famer, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, will stream live and exclusively in the United States on Saturday, July 14 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. This will be Pacquiao’s first fight since headlining cable television’s highest-rated and most-watched boxing telecast since 2006, when he fought Jeff Horn in July of 2017 on ESPN.
Photo Credit: Manny Pacquiao Twitter Account
Pacquiao will challenge Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse for the WBA welterweight title at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In addition, in the world championship co-feature, Filipino power puncher Jhack Tepora (21-0, 16 KOs) will face Edivaldo “Indio” Ortega (26-1-1, 12 KOs) for the vacant WBA featherweight title. Pacquiao and Matthysse are expected to enter the ring at roughly 11:30 p.m. ET. ESPN+ is available to all fans on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.
Pacquiao-Matthysse will cap a full day of boxing on the ESPN family of networks, as Regis “Rougarou” Prograis will defend the WBC Diamond super lightweight title against Juan Jose Velasco, and lightweight sensation Teofimo Lopez will face William Silva, live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 7 p.m. ET and via streaming on the ESPN App from the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. Undercard action from New Orleans will stream live on ESPN+ starting at 4:30 p.m. ET.
“I am very happy that all of my fans in America will have a chance to watch my next fight on ESPN+, and I am looking forward to putting on a show,” Pacquiao said. “Matthysse is a great opponent. I am training with all of my heart because I want to be champion again.”
“This extraordinary event only affirms ESPN’s commitment to providing boxing fans with the biggest and best fights in the sport,” said Bob Arum, Top Rank’s founder and CEO. “Manny Pacquiao is one of the greatest champions in boxing history, and his fight against Matthysse promises to be a sensational one.”
“This matchup is a perfect example of the world-class caliber of events we envisioned for ESPN+ when we announced our agreement with Top Rank,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling. “Pacquiao vs. Matthysse, which will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+, shows the commitment we have to delivering fans the best of boxing year-round on our direct-to-consumer platform.”
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs), the living legend from General Santos City, Philippines, will look to score his first knockout victory since 2009. Before losing the WBO welterweight world championship to Jeff Horn via controversial unanimous decision last July, Pacquiao recaptured the title on November 5, 2016 by defeating then-champion Jessie Vargas at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. In a career that has spanned more than two decades, Pacquiao has victories against legendary fighters like Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Ricky Hatton.
Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) won the vacant WBA welterweight title Jan. 27 in Los Angeles with an eighth-round knockout over Thailand’s Tewa Kiram. One of boxing’s best punchers, pound-for-pound, he is an all-action brawler who has participated in multiple Fight of the Year contenders, including an 11th-round knockout win over John Molina in 2014 and a 12-round majority decision victory over Ruslan Provodnikov in 2015. Matthysse has won two straight since a 10th-round knockout loss to then-undefeated Viktor Postol on Oct. 3, 2015.
Upcoming exclusive boxing on ESPN+ includes the July 28 battle for the vacant World Boxing Organization 130-pound title as Puerto Rican Star Christopher Diaz faces Masayuki Ito at the Kissimmee Civic Center. Diaz-Ito will stream live and exclusively in the United States at 9:30 p.m. ET with undercard action starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Munguia, Smith, Pacquiao, Ennis, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 19th to June 26th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Jaime Munguia vs. Liam Smith Set for July 21st on HBO
Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs), the newly-crowned WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, will make the first defense of his title against former world champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) in a 12-round main event Saturday, July 21 at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. The fight will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Munguia is a dangerous 21-year-old puncher who has ended 25 of his fights by stunning knockout. Munguia has only fought twice in the United States, the second of which was for a last-minute title opportunity against Sadam “World Kid” Ali in May. Munguia used his enormous height and reach advantages to drop Ali several times before a thunderous left hook ended matters in the fourth round. The newly-crowned champion is excited to defend his new belt.
“I’m very excited and thankful with everyone that made this possible,” said Jaime Munguia. “I invite the fans to go and see me live or to tune in on HBO. I will defend my WBO title with pride and honor. See you in Vegas!”
Smith, the first of an impressive stable of brothers to win a world title, is a 29-year-old native of Liverpool, England. After scoring 20 impressive victories as a professional, Smith defeated John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson via seventh-round technical knockout to capture the WBO 154-pound title. Smith then lost the title against Canelo Alvarez in front of over 50,000 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in an impressive show of heart. Smith has had three victories since, and after pulling out of his May 12 fight against Sadam Ali due to an illness, he is more than ready to regain the title that was once his.
“To go to Vegas and fight for a world title is every fighter’s dream,” said Liam Smith. “But it’s only an extra incentive to my main motivation – getting that WBO world junior middleweight title back around my waist. Munguia is obviously a dangerous puncher and I’ll have to be wary of him early on, but he’s never fought someone as good as me and a fully-fledged 154lb fighter. I can’t afford to look an inch past Munguia though. He’s world champion for a reason and with such a high knockout percentage, I’m going to have to be my best ever. Unfortunately for Munguia, that’s what I’ll be.”
In the co-main event, Alberto “Explosivo” Machado (19-0, 16 KOs) will put his WBA Super Featherweight World Title on the line as he faces undefeated No. 1 Contender Rafael “Sweet Pea” Mensah (31-0, 23 KOs) in a 12-round battle.
Machado, a 27-year-old of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a big man for his division and boasts power in both hands. After unifying two regional titles with a dominant unanimous decision victory against Carlos “The Solution” Morales, Machado defeated Jezreel “El Invisible” Corrales by way of eighth-round knockout to capture WBA Super Featherweight Title in Oct. 2017. The hard-hitting southpaw promises to retain his title on July 21.
“One as a fighter knows the sacrifices that are made to become world champion,” said Alberto Machado. “Because of that, I will defend my title with blood and honor this July 21. Rafael Mensah is the mandatory challenger, and he possess great credentials, including an impressive record. That’s why I’m preparing more than ever to walk away with my hand raise in my first defense.”
Mensah is a 27-year-old contender of Accra, Ghana who made his professional debut in 2010.
Since then he has steadily climbed up 130-pound rankings, earning his spot at the top of the WBA rankings and a shot at the title. Mensah is confident that he has the skills to outclass Machado.
“I know Machado and there is no doubt I can beat him,” said Rafael Mensah. “When I saw Machado, I said ‘Yes, I can beat you. You are not somebody that can beat me. You cannot beat Rafael Mensah. I will come and maybe not knock you out, but I will beat you in boxing and teach you a good boxing lesson.’”
“We’re excited to bring two world title fights to Las Vegas on July 21,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Jaime Munguia exploded onto the championship scene last year in devastating fashion, and we’re delighted to showcase him once again on another HBO main event. The co-main event will also bring fireworks as Alberto Machado makes the first defense of what will be a very long reign.”
“I’m proud and excited that this Mexican Kid from Tijuana [Munguia], who’s the hottest fighter in boxing today, will once again fight on July 21 against the tough Liam Smith,” said Fernando Beltran, CEO of Zanfer Promotions. “I know he will prevail again in spectacular fashion like he always does.”
“Liam Smith was very confident of beating Sadam Ali, but unfortunately the allergic reaction he suffered temporarily sidelined his plans,” said Frank Warren. “Munguia looked impressive beating the former champion, but Liam actually feels he is a better stylistic match up for him than Ali would have been. I’m very confident Liam will be recapturing the WBO Junior Middleweight Title and bringing it back to the UK.”
“When Jaime Munguia made his HBO debut this past May, he put the division on notice with a spectacular knockout and captured a 154-pound title”, said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. “He looks to keep the momentum going on July 21 as he takes on his mandatory challenger Liam Smith, who hopes to take the title back to his native UK.”
George Kambosos Jr. to Fight on Pacquiao-Matthysse Undercard
Undefeated world-ranked lightweight contender
“Ferocious” George Kambosos Jr. (14-0, 8 KOs), of Sydney, Australia, will return to battle in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sunday, July 15 (Sat. July 14 in the United States) in a 10-round clash against JR “Star Boy” Magboo (17-1-2, 8 KOs), of Batangas, Philippines, it was announced today by DiBella Entertainment.
“I’m thrilled and very excited to get back in the ring on Manny Pacquiao’s undercard,” said the 25-year-old Kambosos. “Manny and I have had some excellent training sessions for this camp and I can’t wait to fight in Kuala Lumpur. I know that Magboo has lost only once, but I’ll be well prepared after training with Manny to be victorious.”
“I would like to thank Manny Pacquiao for giving George Kambosos this great opportunity to fight on his undercard in Malaysia,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “All of us at DiBella Entertainment believe that Kambosos is a star with the potential to become a champion. This is a great opportunity for him to showcase his talent on the undercard of a future hall-of-famer and a legend.”
Kambosos vs. Magboo will take place at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on the undercard of the WBA welterweight world title bout between boxing legend and challenger Manny Pacquiao and champion Lucas Matthysse.
Currently ranked #11 by the World Boxing Organization and #14 by the International Boxing Federation, the all-action Kambosos made his triumphant United States debut on May 5, with a stunning first-round knockout of Jose Forero at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT.
For the last few weeks, Kambosos has trained and sparred alongside Pacquiao as he prepares to win another welterweight world title. Trained by former heavyweight contender Justin Fortune, Kambosos also worked with Pacquiao in Los Angeles last summer in preparation for the Filipino’s clash with Jeff Horn.
A sports star in his native Australia, Kambosos stopped Krai Setthaphone in the ninth round on October 13, 2017, in front of a huge crowd headlining at the Melbourne Pavilion in Victoria, Australia.
Most recently, Magboo stopped Prell Tupas in the first round on May 13, in Marilao, Philippines.
Kali Reis Quotes from Media Workout
In advance of her fight this Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena, three-time world champion Kali “KO Mequinonoag” Reis held an open media workout today at Big Six Academy in Providence, Rhode Island.
Fighting out of nearby Cranston, RI, Reis (13-7-1, 4 KOs) will face former world title challenger Patty “La Elegante” Ramirez (11-5, 5 KOs), of Mexico, in an eight-round welterweight bout.
Reis vs. Ramirez is the co-featured bout on the “SLUGFEST AT THE SUN” card, presented by JOE DEGUARDIA’S STAR BOXING, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Reis is coming off a historic fight last month versus undisputed women’s world welterweight champion and pound-4-pound Queen, 33-0 Cecilia Braekhus, in the first female bout ever featured on HBO. Reis dropped Braekhus for the first time in her professional career, however the judges scored the fight in favor of Braekhus, over ruckus boo’s from the crowd.
QUOTES FROM TODAY’S MEDIA WORKOUT:
“I’m so excited to be back fighting at home, especially after our history making fight on HBO. I fought Cecilia Braekhus. We were the first women to ever fight on HBO and there were more than a million viewers. If I knew that many people would be watching, I would have been a lot more nervous.”
“On paper, it was a loss, but it was really a win-win for me, and women’s boxing. It’s already opened a lot of doors for me. There’s been so much growth for me and women’s boxing. It’s going to open the door for other women to fight on networks. It was a step up for women’s boxing, not just for one event, but forever.”
“I’m the first female Native American to fight in New England.”
“I’ve been fighting 18 years. I played basketball and volleyball in high school, but I love boxing.”
“I showed in my last fight that I belong to be with the elite. I want to get a rematch (with Braekhus).”
“Being a road warrior, I’m familiar fighting away or at home, but it’s more comfortable fighting here at home. My hometown crowd is always very supportive.”
“(Saturday) I am going to come out with a victory. My opponent’s taller, but I just need to follow the game plan and execute.”
Juan Carlos Abreu and Any Vences-Frank De Alba Headline Ramirez-O’Connor Undercard
The Mean Machine, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, is looking to cement his name as a welterweight to watch when he defends the NABF title against Juan Carlos Abreu, July 7 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno as the ESPN-televised co-feature to Jose Ramirez’s WBC super lightweight title defense against Danny O’Connor.
The undercard will also feature heavyweight contender Andy Ruiz Jr. against veteran Kevin Johnson in a 10- round bout, 18-year-old wunderkind Gabe Flores Jr. versus James De Herrera in a six-round lightweight bout, and Andy Vences defending the WBC Continental Americas super featherweight title against Frank De Alba.
Ramirez vs. O’Connor and Kavaliauskas vs. Abreu will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET.
The entire undercard, including Vences-DeAlba, Ruiz-Johnson and Flores-De Herrera will be streamed on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Star Boxing and Murphys Boxing, tickets to this world championship event, priced at $150 (floor), 90, $60, $35, $20, and $10, plus applicable fees, are ON SALE NOW and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000, or at the Save Mart Center box office. For more information and box office hours, visit www.savemartcenter.com.
“This is a great opportunity to show everyone watching on ESPN what the ‘Mean Machine’ is made of,” Kavaliauskas said. “I want a title shot soon, but I have to take care of business against Abreu to make my dreams a reality. It’s going to be a toe-to-toe battle, and I know I will be victorious.”
“I am excited to show what I’m capable of doing. I’m more anxious than anything to show everyone the improvements I’ve made,” Vences said. “I am fighting another southpaw, so I feel like I’m picking up where I left off. I have a lot of family and friends coming out to support me, which gives me extra motivation.”
“This is my first fight in California as a pro, and I can’t wait to entertain my people,” Flores said.
Kavaliauskas (19-0, 16 KOs), ranked in the top 10 by three of the four major sanctioning organizations, is on the precipice of a world title shot. A native of Lithuania who trains out of the Boxing Laboratory in Oxnard, California, Kavaliauskas has won four consecutive fights by stoppage. He won the NABF title last September with a seventh-round TKO over Mahonri Montes and defended the title in February with a sixth-round TKO over former WBA welterweight world champion David Avanesyan. Abreu (21-3-1, 19 KOs) has won two in a row since a split decision loss to then-unbeaten Alex Martin in June 2016.
Ruiz (30-1, 20 KOs) is on the comeback trail after dropping a majority decision to Joseph Parker on Dec. 10, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. He took 15 months off after the Parker loss, but came back March 10 in Carson, California, knocking out Devin Vargas in the opening round. Johnson (32-9-1, 16 KOs) is a 15-year pro who challenged Vitali Klitschko for the WBC heavyweight title in 2009, losing a unanimous decision.
Flores (8-0, 5 KOs), an 18-year-old recent high school graduate from Stockton, California, signed with Top Rank in November 2016 at 16 years old, becoming the youngest fighter ever to sign with the promotional company. He is seeking his fourth win of 2018, most recently scoring a four-round unanimous decision June 9 in Las Vegas on the Terence Crawford-Jeff Horn undercard.
In his last bout, Vences (20-0-1, 12 KOs) fought to spirited draw against Erick De Leon as the ESPN-televised co-feature to the Oscar Valdez-Scott Quigg bout March 10 in Carson, California. De Alba (22-3-2, 9 KOs) is looking to get back into the win column following an eight-round majority decision defeat to O’Shaquie Foster on April 13 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Jaron Ennis and Armando Alvarez to Face off in July 20th ShoBox Main Event
A battle of unbeaten welterweight prospects will headline a ShoBox: The New Generation tripleheader on Friday, July 20 live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT when Jaron Ennis squares off against Armando Alvarez in the 10-round main event from WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa.
Philadelphia’s Ennis (20-0, 18 KOs) has knocked out 10 consecutive opponents and was the 2015 National Golden Gloves Champion before turning professional in 2016. The 20-year-old former amateur standout will face his first undefeated opponent in Alvarez (18-0, 12 KOs), a native of the Florida Keys who has knocked out six of his last seven opponents.
The three-fight telecast features six prospects with a combined record of 82-1, with all six fighters facing what is likely the toughest tests of their careers.
In the co-feature, undefeated lightweight Thomas Mattice (12-0, 10 KOs) returns to Iowa for his second ShoBox appearance of the year when he clashes with former Armenian amateur standout Zhora Hamazaryan (9-0, 6 KOs) in a 10-round bout.
Also on the card, undefeated super lightweight prospect Montana Love (11-0, 5 KOs) will take on former national amateur champion Kenneth Sims Jr. (12-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight bout.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by GH3 Promotions, Victory Promotions, Ringside Ticket Inc., Banner Promotions & Thompson Boxing are priced from $10-$60 and can be purchased at winnavegas.com.
JARON ENNIS vs. ARMANDO ALVAREZ – 10-Round Welterweight Bout
Ennis will debut on ShoBox following a statement second round knockout of former junior welterweight contender Mike Arnaoutis earlier this month, his 10th consecutive KO victory. The Philadelphia native had a standout amateur career, notching an impressive record of 58-3 and winning the 2015 National Golden Gloves tournament. Ennis, who was ranked No. 1 as an amateur at 141 pounds, narrowly missed the opportunity to represent the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics after losing a box-off to Gary Antuanne Russell at the Olympic Trials.
“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for,” Ennis said. “I can’t wait to show the world my talent.”
Just 20 years old, Ennis currently trains under his father Derek “Bozy” Ennis Sr., who also trained his other sons Derek Jr. and Farah. The 5-foot-10 Ennis will be the third brother to appear on ShoBox; Derek Jr. appeared on the series in 2007, and Farah faced Badou Jack on the series in 2013.
“A win on this platform would mean everything,” Ennis continued. “From here on out, I want to fight only the big names in the division. I feel grateful for this opportunity to show the world my talents and skills. It’s great to follow in my brother’s footsteps, and I am ready to take the Ennis last name to the next level.”
The 28-year-old Alvarez turned professional in 2014 and has gradually increased his level of opposition. Alvarez, who now lives in Key West, compiled a 26-4 amateur record and won the Florida State Championship in 2013. His headlining fight with Ennis will be his second fight of 2018 and by far his toughest test to date.
“This is the biggest opportunity I have ever received,” Alvarez said. “This is it. It’s on. Ennis is a great young fighter, but I think he has stepped out of his league. He is just a kid. The world will find out who Armando Alvarez is on July 20.”
THOMAS MATTICE vs. ZHORA HAMAZARYAN – Eight-Round Lightweight Bout
A 27-year-old from Cleveland, Mattice turned pro in 2014 and had an amateur record of 72-18. He was a three-time Ohio State Golden Gloves Champion and bronze medal winner in the USA National Tournament in 2014.
Mattice will be making his second ShoBox appearance following a strong debut Feb. 2, when the undefeated lightweight rallied from behind to score a seventh round TKO of ShoBox veteran Rolando Chinea. Mattice has recorded five straight KOs and nine overall in 11 professional fights.
“I am excited for the opportunity to showcase my talent again on ShoBox,” Mattice said. “I’m going to go out there and do what I did before. I’m going to get a win, hopefully in knockout fashion. This guy (Hamazaryan) doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into.”
Undefeated lightweight prospect Hamazaryan, who signed with Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing in February, is originally from Armenia but fights out of Los Angeles. Part of a long line of Armenian fighters who have fought in the U.S., Hamazaryan won his U.S. debut on Feb. 16, when he scored a unanimous decision win over the previously unbeaten Sergio Ramirez. Prior to his win against Ramirez, all of Hamazaryan’s victories were earned in Russia.
The 22-year-old was considered the No. 1 fighter in Armenia after an amateur career that spanned over 200 fights. Hamazaryan turned professional in 2015, turning down an opportunity to fight for the Armenian Olympic Team in 2016.
“This fight is very important for me, and I am very excited to be fighting on national television in America,” Hamazaryan said. “I know [Mattice] is undefeated but I normally don’t look at my opponent. I’m just looking to put on a great performance and make a statement for fans in the U.S.”
MONTANA LOVE vs. KENNETH SIMS JR. – Eight-Round Super Lightweight Bout
Cleveland native Love was an accomplished amateur who compiled a 174-13 record and won a bronze medal at the 2012 National Golden Gloves Championships. The 22-year-old recently sparred with Adrien Broner, and served as head sparring partner for Robert Easter Jr. before his lightweight title defense against Javier Fortuna on Jan. 20.
Love has won two consecutive bouts against lesser opposition since defeating Samuel Teah in his ShoBox debut on Feb. 2.
“I am excited and happy to be back,” Love said. “I want to put on another great performance. Sims and I grew up as amateurs together. He’s a good fighter, but I am hungry and want to keep rolling. I can’t let anything get in my way.”
Chicago native Sims makes his return to ShoBox just over a year after suffering the first loss of his career against Rolando Chinea via close majority decision in what was his toughest test to date. The 24-year-old Sims, who has sparred with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, was a 2013 U.S. National Amateur Champion and a 2012 Olympic Trials semifinalist.
“I am happy to be back fighting after having surgery on my elbow that had been bothering me for the last year and a half,” Sims said. “This is my chance to prove that I’m back and the loss onShoBox was a fluke. I remember Love from the amateurs and I know I have what it takes to beat him.”
Is Jeff Horn Really a Paper Champ?
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
American boxing fans are yet to embrace Jeff Horn, mainly because they feel that he was gifted a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquaio.
ESPN commentator, Teddy Atlas, nearly lost his mind when Horn’s hand was raised in Brisbane, arguing that he had been rewarded “for trying hard” despite Pacquaio landing “the cleaner punches”. He was so incensed that he even asked Horn himself if he believed that the judges had made the right decision.
Most of his colleagues at ESPN shared his disgust, but former world champion Timothy Bradley thought the fight was a lot closer than Atlas’ 116-111 scorecard suggested.
It’s worth noting that both Atlas and co-analyst Stephen A Smith gave Horn absolutely no chance of de-throning Pacquaio in the pre-fight build-up. In fact, they were borderline disrespectful.
“I’ve got to admit, I don’t have much on this dude,” Smith stated.
Surely that’s a key part of his job as a boxing analyst?
After admitting that he hadn’t done any background research on Horn, he then questioned whether he even deserved a title shot.
Smith scoffed at Horn’s previous opponents, declaring that they “give new meaning to the term no-names. I mean, come on, we don’t know these people.”
Perhaps someone should have informed him that two of the fighters he listed- Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka- were former world champions.
In fact, Bailey was a two-weight world champion. Not bad for a no-name.
Were these fighters past their prime when they faced Horn? Yes. Had Horn faced particularly stiff opposition up to this point? No.
But they might have mentioned that he only had 16 professional fights under his belt.
Their ringside coverage followed a similar trend. Even when Horn had his moments, the ESPN commentators barely acknowledged them. Atlas was particularly dismissive, arguing that Horn wasn’t really landing anything when he had Pacquaio on the back foot. In contrast, he erupted when Pacquaio landed even glancing blows.
It’s fair to say that the coverage was biased. Horn did a hell of a lot better than expected and Pacquaio looked genuinely puzzled by his awkward style. How could that happen? Just an hour earlier, we were told that this fight was a joke.
It seems a little convenient that the same pundits who sneered at his chances prior to the fight described it as a robbery in the aftermath.
Perhaps they were trying to save face? After all, running with the robbery narrative meant they wouldn’t have to address their complete under-estimation of Horn. This way they could argue that they were right about Horn, it’s just that the judges were so corrupt.
In order to objectively assess the fight, we need to turn to other experts. The CompuBox punch stats don’t do Horn any favours. They show that Pacquaio landed 182 punches to Horn’s 92.
However, if you browse through the scorecards of various boxing writers and analysts, you will find that a number of them thought Horn was a deserved winner.
Britain’s foremost boxing writer, Steve Bunce, scored the bout 115-113 in favour of Horn and said “at the final bell Pacquiao looked like a beaten man and he was… Horn deserved his win, Pacquiao looked utterly dreadful for six rounds and hopefully the Australian will get the recognition he deserves — after everybody stops screaming hysterics about a robbery.”
Boxing Monthly’s Andrew Harrison said Horn won 116-113, while Sherdog’s Gary Randall (116-112) and Mike Fridley (115-112) said he won comfortably.
Irish boxing legend Barry McGuigan and Tom Gray of Ring magazine also felt Horn won the fight by a “wide” margin.
Even popular sports personality and die-hard Pacquaio fan, Skip Bayliss, gave the fight to Horn 115-113.
Then there were those who thought it was a draw. Quite a few, as it turns out.
– Brian Campbell- 114-114
– Brian Mazique- 114-114
– Bob Sheridan- 114-114
– Eric Raskin- 114-114
– Graham Houston- 114-114
It has to be said that the majority of the experts believed Pacquaio won the fight, some by a significant margin:
– Behind the Gloves 117-110
– Ryan Phillips 116-110
– Mike Sloan 116-111
– Dan Rafael 117-111
But many felt it was extremely close.
Kevin Iole scored the fight 115-113 in Pacquaio’s favour, but said “it was a 7-5 fight either way… you can’t complain about the [judges’] call.”
He wasn’t alone. Look how many boxing aficianados felt Pacquaio won by two rounds or less:
– Bad Left Hook, 115-113 Pacquaio
– Doug Fischer- 115-113 Pacquaio
– Boxing News- 115-113- Pacquaio
– Nigel Collins- 114-113 Pacquaio
– Gareth Davies- 115-113 Pacquaio
– Marcos Villegas- Pacquaio 114-113
With so many scores like the above, can we really call Pacquaio vs Horn a robbery? As Iole puts it, fights that only have a couple of rounds in them could really go either way. Especially when almost every round was so competitive.
Given how close it was, two of the ringside judges’ scorecards of 115-113 (Horn) are justifiable.
The majority of the experts think Pacquiao did enough to win the fight, but it could also be argued that he didn’t do enough to ensure victory.
Whether you think Horn won or not, the decision could hardly be described as daylight robbery and he certainly doesn’t deserve to be labelled a paper champ.
Are We Underestimating Jeff Horn Again?
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Few pundits are giving WBO Welterweight champion Jeff Horn a chance against the highly-rated Terence Crawford. There’s no doubt the gritty Aussie has a tough fight ahead of him, but should we really be counting him out?
His fighting style may not be easy on the eye, but Horn is no pushover. Just ask Manny Pacquaio.
Whether you agreed with the judges’ decision or not, no one can deny that the unheralded Aussie gave Pacquaio a much tougher fight than expected.
“The Hornet’s” unorthodox movement and his ability to throw punches from unusual angles made him an extremely awkward opponent.
It was widely predicted that the Filipino’s speed, power and relentless flurries would overwhelm Horn. In fact, several experts predicted that he’d be lucky to make it out of the first round.
“Pacman” landed plenty of punches, but it wasn’t the dominant performance we anticipated. We’ve seen him completely overpower some of the best fighters of his generation, but he landed surprisingly few power shots, often settling for glancing one-punch counters.
Against Horn, he looked slow and surprisingly reluctant to let his hands go. Many blamed father time, highlighting that Pacquaio is every bit of 38 years of age, sustaining a lot of damage throughout a lengthy career.
It’s hard to argue with that, but Horn also deserves a lot of credit for Pacquaio’s underwhelming performance.
It wasn’t just that Pacquaio has lost some speed, power and stamina. Horn made the legendary fighter look average at times by nullifying some of his biggest weapons.
Pacquaio found it difficult to deal with Horn’s size and reach advantage. The Aussie kept him at range extremely well, punishing the Filipino when he burst forward with some solid shots from unexpected angles.
Pacquaio looked confused, frustrated and genuinely surprised by Horn’s ability, speed and composure.
Horn isn’t renowned as a big puncher, but his power also helped him to keep Pacquaio at bay. How many times have we seen the Filipino stand toe to toe with his opponents, daring them to hit him because he knew that he would come out on top in most of the exchanges.
The final punch statistics certainly favoured Pacquaio, but Horn landed some telling blows that backed him up and gave him something to think about. His relatively cautious tactics throughout the fight show that he respected the Aussie’s strength and power.
Pacquaio’s hesitation also demonstrates Horn’s deceptive speed. He might not look particularly quick, but his reactions were impressive and he caught Pacquaio where other fighters have failed to in the past.
He roughed Pacquaio up too. Critics will tell you that Horn fought dirty and they may have a point. But the head clashes did not appear to be intentional. These things happen in fights and it’s unlikely that there would have been such an outcry if Pacquaio used similar tactics. Horn did what he had to.
When Pacquaio did manage to work his way inside, Horn used his physical advantages to great effect- smothering him, leaning on him and making him feel every bit of his weight.
Few fighters in the world can box their opponents effectively from range and close quarters. Most fighters favour one approach over the other. Horn managed to do both against an all-time great.
People have criticised his style, but any fighter that can pull this off is extremely skilled.
All of these things are well and good, but we have to acknowledge that Horn was almost stopped in the 9th round. If an older Pacquaio almost finished him, he surely has no chance against Crawford, right?
Maybe. But anyone who can absorb such a vicious attack from Pacquaio is clearly a tough nut to crack. How many people have taken that many shots from Pacquaio and stayed on their feet?
Sure, Pacman’s lost some of his legendary power, but he still had enough to floor two world class fighters in his previous fights- Jesse Vargas and Timothy Bradley.
Horn didn’t just take that punishment and survive. He won the last few rounds. It’s clearly going to take something special to put him away.
Let’s also not forget that Horn came to boxing late (aged 16). With just 19 fights under his belt, he is still relatively inexperienced and has shown improvement in every fight. He will only get better.
Look at the other world champions in Horn’s division. How many of them fought someone of Pacquiao’s calibre in just their 18th professional fight? None.
– Keith Thurman became interim WBA champion with a win over Diego Chaves in his 22nd fight.
– Errol Spence beat Kell Brook to become the IBF champion in his 22nd fight.
– Lucas Matthysse took a whopping 35 fights to become the WBC champion, defeating Mike Dallas Jr.
Even Crawford became the WBO Lightweight Champion in his 23rd fight, a unanimous decision against Ricky Burns.
Did Horn lose to Pacquaio? Possibly. But many experts felt it was a lot closer than Teddy Atlas’ scorecard. Plenty also felt that the Hornet did enough to get his hand raised.
Don’t let the robbery narrative fool you, the man can fight. Expect to see an even better version of Horn this weekend.
Many people feel Crawford is taking an easy path to a world title by facing Horn, but he may not have it all his own way.
If you think Horn’s an easy fight, you haven’t been paying attention. Crawford will need to be at his best to put him away.
Regardless of the result, Horn deserves far more respect than he has received thus far.