Monday, March 18, 2019

Locked and loaded

Fireworks. Manny Pacquiao signs a backdrop at the Le Meridien Hotel of his fight with WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse this weekend in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Wendell Alinea/Conributed foto)

FILIPINO superstar Manny Pacquiao and World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse are ready to put on a show for fans in their world championship fight in the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this Sunday.

“We are locked and loaded. I am more than ready and excited to show Malaysian fight fans the fruits of hard training and preparation. We had a very great training camp and I cannot wait to fight on Sunday, July 15,” said the 39-year-old Pacquiao upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Pacquiao, an eight-division world champion, is looking to bounce back from a loss to Aussie Jeff Horn and prove that he still has it. He dropped a shocking unanimous decision in the hands of Horn, who was a relative unknown at that time, at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia a year ago.

Pacquiao made some major changes in his camp, making childhood buddy and assistant coach Buboy Fernandez as lead coach. He also got the services of Nonito Donaire Sr., as an assistant coach and had the whole duration of his training camp in the Philippines.

The 36-year-old Matthysse has dreamed of this moment, a chance to beat an all-time great in Pacquiao.

“I feel 100 percent sure that I will succeed in this fight. I trained very hard to defend my title in Malaysia. I’ve already gotten used to the weather and time here. I’m in great condition, and I promise a great performance to the entire world. I thank Golden Boy Promotions, Arano Box and everyone involved in the promotion. This will be a first-class combat in which I promise a spectacular victory!”

After a knockout loss to Viktor Postol in 2015, Matthysse returned from from a long hiatus and knocked out Emmanuel Taylor in the fifth round. He saw action the following year knocked out Tewa Kiram for the vacant WBA belt.

Pacquiao is 59-7-2 with 38 knockouts, while Matthysse is 39-4 with 36 knockouts.

The show dubbed as “Fight of Champions” has three other world title fights in the stacked card.

Cebu’s very own Jhack Tepora (21-0, 16 KOs) faces off with Mexican banger Edivaldo Ortega (26-1-1, 12 KOs) for the WBA featherweight crown.

Moruti Mthalane (35-2, 24 KOs) is up against Muhammad Waseeem (8-0, 6 KOs) for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight title.

Venezuelan Carlos Canizales (20-0-1, 16 Kos) defends his WBA light flyweight strap against Lu Bin (1-0, 1 KO). (EKA)


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