Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao 59-7-2 (38) has revealed that he will consider retirement if he doesn’t get past Argentinean knockout artist Lucas Matthysse 39-4 (36) on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
It will be Pacquiao’s first fight in a year. In his last outing, the 39-year-old Filipino senator was a shock loser to unheralded Australian schoolteacher Jeff Horn 18-0-1 (12) at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane last July.
“I am not saying it will be the last, but it will be the basis for (me) to think about (whether) to continue or not,” Pacquiao told AFP after training in Manila on Thursday. “So I am trying my best and doing our best in the training in this fight to show if I can still do it or not.”
Pacquiao’s former strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza came out and criticised the training regime of the former eight-division world champion this week, claiming that new head coach Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez is trying to wind the clock back by making Pacquiao train like he did in his twenties. Fernandez, a boyhood friend of Pacquiao’s, took over the reins from long-time trainer Freddie Roach to coach his good friend for this fight with the assistance of former camp cook Raides “Nonoy” Neri.
The fight against Matthysse will be for the 35-year-old South American’s WBA “regular” welterweight title, a belt he won in an uninspiring performance against unheralded Thai Tewa Kiram back in January.
“(Matthysse) is a very aggressive fighter. I am not worried about his style. My worry is I need to get 100 percent conditioned – the stamina, the power and the strength to survive the 12 rounds,” said Pacquiao.
“A young Manny Pacquiao throwing a lot of punches, and more footwork, head movements, side by side (motions) – that’s my goal to achieve for this fight.”
The southpaw challenger is confident that under Fernandez’s guidance he will be back in top form come mid-July.
“Buboy adapted the style of Freddie Roach and he knows what to do for this training so I am confident with Buboy,” said Pacquiao.