Former undisputed junior middleweight champion Ronald “Winky” Wright 51-6-1 (25) has warned Manny Pacquiao 59-7-2 (38) against going headhunting when he faces Lucas Matthysse 39-4 (36) at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 15.
The 39-year-old Filipino lost his WBO welterweight title to Jeff “The Fighting Schoolteacher” Horn 18-1-1 (12) in Australia last July in front of more than 50,000 parochial fans at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium. Wright believes Pacquiao got a rough deal in that fight.
“First of all, I don’t think Manny Pacquiao should have lost to Jeff Horn,” said Wright to On the Ropes Boxing Radio. “I think it was a bad decision. It is what it is.”
The 46-year-old southpaw knows a thing or two about dubious decisions while fighting on the road. The early part of Wright’s career was spent fighting abroad, with a dozen fights in France including his first world title shot. Wright fought throughout Europe in places like Luxembourg, Germany, Monte Carlo and the UK and by the time he defended his IBF junior middleweight title on US soil for the first time he was a veteran of 45 bouts including eight world title fights.
Pacquiao should receive favourable treatment in Malaysia, a close neighbour of the Philippines. But Wright warns the popular champion against getting complacent against the big-hitting Argentine.
“Anybody who has a good punch has a chance, that’s why they call it a puncher’s chance,” said the 2018 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee. “If Pacquiao still has the good legs and can move in and out like he does, it’s going to be hard for anybody to beat him.
“If he stays there and just tries to catch Matthysse with a big punch, Matthysse has a good punch and could end it.”
The last time Pacquiao scored a knockout was almost nine years and 13 fights ago when he wore down Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto, stopping him on his feet in the 12th and final round.