Former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao 59-7-2 (38) believes he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level ahead of his WBA “regular” welterweight world title challenge against champion Lucas Matthysse 39-4 (36) of Argentina in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 14.
“My time is not done yet, that’s what I’m trying to prove,” Pacquiao said at the press conference to officially announce the fight at the Grand Ballroom at the City of Dreams Manila Resort and Casino.
The Filipino superstar has been out of action since July last year when he was outpointed for his WBO welterweight title by unheralded Jeff Horn 18-0-1 (12) at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia in front of 51,000 fight fans.
“I don’t have a prediction but I will do my best to win convincingly. If I could have the chance to finish it right away, I’ll finish it,” continued the 39-year-old Pacquiao, who hasn’t scored a stoppage victory in close to a decade. His last win within the distance was against Miguel Cotto in November 2009, some fourteen fights ago.
Matthysse, 35, was last in action in January when he claimed the vacant WBA “regular” title with an eighth round knockout of Thai Tewa Kiram 38-1 (28) in an otherwise lacklustre affair.
Despite not looking his best in his last fight, Matthysse said he will leave it all in the ring against Pacquiao.
“I’ll die for the title if I have to,” said Matthysse. “I’m going to defend this title to the death…he’s still very good, but not at the same level…ever since the knockout loss Pacquiao suffered at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez.”
Rumours persist that Pacquiao will be without longtime trainer Freddie Roach in his corner for this fight, preferring instead to rely on the guidance of childhood friend Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez and Raides “Nonoy” Neri.
In another change, the fight will be promoted by MP Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions – who promoter Matthysse – rather than Pacquiao’s regular promoter Top Rank, who will only be handling the international broadcast side of the deal.