Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) will battle Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) on July 14 in Malaysia. This will be Pacquiao's first fight since his controversial decision loss to Jeff Horn in July of last year. How much does the 39-year old Pacquiao have left in the tank? Is it time for Matthysse, who has 36 knockouts in his 39 wins, to shine?
Pacquiao has an unbelievable resume but he's clearly on the downside of his career. What isn't clear is why he keeps fighting? Is it to get big paychecks or is it a matter of pride? My theory is that the answer is somewhere in the middle. As for Matthysse, he has big wins, including a knockout over Lamont Peterson but losses to Danny Garcia and Viktor Postol have kept him from being elite. Matthysse is a ferocious puncher, as seen in his knockout win against the then undefeated Tewa Kiram in January and a win over Pacquiao would validate his career.
Lucas Matthysse vs. Manny Pacquiao, 12 rounds, for Matthysse's WBA "regular" welterweight title
Saturday, July 14
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Betting odds at Jazz Sportsbook:
Lucas Matthysse +165
Manny Pacquiao -205
Over 10.5 (-295)
Under 10.5 (+235)
As of this writing, Manny Pacquiao is only a -205 favorite at Jazz Sportsbook. The reasons why are obvious, he isn't getting any younger, his body is wore down, he's coming off a loss and he will face a fighter with notorious knockout power. That said, Pacquiao should have won by decision against Jeff Horn and Lucas Matthysse has just two fights since 2015 and even though he won them, his opponents were not proven boxers.
Longtime assistant coach Buboy Fernandez takes over for trainer Freddie Roach, which can be seen as another sign of Pacquiao reaching the final chapter of his career. Perhaps choosing Lucas Matthysse as Pacquiao's opponent here wasn't a random move. Matthysse may have two knockout wins in a row but he looks beatable. Can Pacquiao take advantage or will Matthysse's punching power prove to be too much for him?
Pacquiao can still bring speed and movement and those are elements that could trouble Matthysse. Pacquiao hasn't won via knockout in almost nine years but his in-and-out style and mastery of angles will help him beat the more one-dimensional Matthysse.
Boxing Picks: Manny Pacquiao -205 & Over 10.5 rounds (-295) at Jazz Sportsbook
Check odds here: https://goo.gl/dVwAAb
Odds as seen on ESPN Chalk: https://goo.gl/ji6GJZ