Saturday, September 22, 2018

Mendoza: Introducing Pacquiao’s next foe

IF we still believe in Manny Pacquiao—we should why not?—he will have his 66th fight in barely three months from now.

His opponent is Lucas Matthysse of Chubut, Argentina.

The reigning world welterweight champion in the World Boxing Association (WBA), Matthysse is, at 35, not that young anymore.

But so is Pacquiao, who, at 39, is quite a bit old already. At that age, you ought to be banished to pastureland already, if not to a home-for-the-aged fenced off from the prying eyes of the curious, wondering whether their idol can still remember his name.

But boxing is a business teeming with con artists.

Here, nothing is impossible. It’s like politics. Dirty as garbage.

That is why Jimmy Cannon was right: Boxing is the red-light district of sports.

Matthysse is coming over on April 20—that’s this coming Friday—to promote his fight with Pacquiao.

From here, both fighters fly to Kuala Lumpur for more fight hype in the Malaysian capital where they clash on July 15.

That’s almost exactly one year after Pacquiao fought his last bout, losing his last remaining world title—the WBO 147-pound crown—to Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane in July 2017.

Horn was a nondescript when he pulled off a sensational 12-round decision victory over Pacquiao, whose only clear win in that forgettable fight was the ninth round.

Clearly in that contest, Pacquiao had no more of that vaunted power and sting from his fists that had recorded 38 knockouts out of 57 victories—the last one coming in 2009 yet against Miguel Cotto.

Most of Pacquiao’s six losses had also come almost only recently, an indication of his fast-diminishing skills as old age keeps creeping into his system—mostly on his knees and hands that now continually disobey the dictates of the mind.

Now, look at this: Matthysse has 39 wins, 36 by knockout. If that doesn’t send shivers down your spines, you must be a robot straight from the Pacific Rim.

“I’m not thinking about the scorecards,” Matthysse has told BoxingScene. Com. “I’m thinking about knocking Pacquiao out.”

I know Pacquiao isn’t scared a bit.

I am, though. He is old hat—sadly.

In short, Pacquiao’s next foe is not Matthysse but Father Time. Tough as nails.