We finally know that the upcoming Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse fight will happen.
The boxing legend is slated to challenge Matthysse for the World Boxing Association welterweight title on July 15th, 2018 (July 14th in the United States) at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Some thought that this fight would never happen due to Pacquiao taking some time off.
Matthysse is coming off an eight round TKO of Tewa Kiram at The Forum in Los Angeles, which saw him win the ‘regular’ version of the WBA welterweight title. Following the fight, Matthysse called out Pacquiao for a potential fight.
The career of the boxing legend has been on a roller coaster of a ride since suffering a devastating loss knockout loss to great rival Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.
Thus, he has gone 5-2 in his last seven fights that include dropping decisions to Floyd Mayweather, Jr in May 2015 and Jeff Horn in July of 2017.
This fight had been in jeopardy for the past several weeks over financing issues but that has all changed and it’s officially on according to a report by ESPN.
Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told ESPN that Matthysse and his team will fly Tuesday from Los Angeles to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the fight.
“The fight’s a go. There were some bumps in the road but everything is now in order and we’re excited. It’s a great opportunity for Lucas,” Gomez said. “This is his dream fight. It’s the fight he’s been talking about for five years now. Anytime you can fight a legend like Manny Pacquiao it’s a win.
“The money is in place. The money was supposed to be in an escrow account in the U.S. and now everything is good. It’s customary practice when you are fighting overseas to have the money in an escrow account, and now the money is there. We’re excited to be working with Manny and his company, MP Promotions, and commend him for putting this fight together and making sure it comes off.”
This whole deal came down to money as the initial payment of $500,000 was made to the Golden Boy/Matthysse camp when the fight was signed to help pay for things. However, this fight was in jeopardy after MP Promotions missed several deadlines over the past two months to fully fund $2 million for the camp. Last week more of the money was wired to the account and now it’s back on.
“I didn’t really pay attention to it, but I saw the headlines,” Matthysse, who is from Argentina, told ESPN through a translator, in reference to the money issues. “I read a little bit about it, but I just kept training with the same desire I always have. I knew the fight would happen so I didn’t really pay attention to what was going on. I feel good and I am happy to be heading out there to Malaysia to defend my title.”
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum went on record by stating that he is working with ESPN to get the fight aired either on ESPN or ESPN+.
“ESPN is up to speed on everything,” Arum said, noting that it is up to the network to decide whether the card would air on ESPN or on the ESPN+ streaming service. “When the contract is signed with Manny and his company, then ESPN will announce what its plans are for the fight.”
It should be noted that there is a Top Rank Boxing event on ESPN card beginning at 7 p.m. ET on July 14 that is slated to be headlined by No. 1 junior welterweight Regis Prograis taking on Juan Jose Velasco in the main event in New Orleans, which could end up serving the undercard fights for Pacquiao vs. Matthysse.
“Our card in New Orleans will be over by 9 p.m. ET and ESPN could go with Manny’s undercard like it would be a normal telecast at that time and make it a night of boxing,” Arum said.