Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse Pick

Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, July 14, 2018
Where: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
TV: ESPN
Weight Class: Welterweight
Titles: WBA Welterweight Title
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Manny Pacquiao, 59-7-2 (38 KOs), General Santos City, Philippines
Vs.
Lucas Matthysse, 39-4 (36 KOs), Trelew, Argentina

Betting Odds: Manny Pacquiao (-230), Lucas Matthysse (+170)

Future Hall of Famer and former PFP top-dog Manny Pacquiao takes on noted puncher Lucas Matthysse on July 15 in Malaysia. This will be Pacquiao’s first fight since a controversial decision loss to Jeff Horn in July of last year. He looks to add another big name to his glittering resume. To do so, he will need to avoid the fists of the hard-punching Matthysse, a man who has scored 36 knockouts in his 39 wins. Can the now 39-year old Pacquiao still bring it or will this be a time for the Argentine to shine? Let’s see what we can come up with in this Pacquiao-Matthysse prediction piece.

With Pacquiao, you have one of the best resumes of all-time. Having won titles from flyweight all the way up to junior middleweight, his career has been unique and indeed very special. Pushing 40 and obviously on the downside of his career, it’s a bit unclear exactly what Manny is trying to do at this point. Is he fighting for big checks, is he still trying to be the best, or is the answer somewhere in the middle?

Matthysse has made a lot of noise in his career. He distinguished himself at 140 with some big wins, including a KO over Lamont Peterson. A loss to Danny Garcia and later, a TKO loss to Postol, kept Matthysse from being truly elite. His failings aside, he has always been a ferocious puncher. And some of that old menace surfaced in his last fight with a televised KO over an unbeaten opponent in January. While perhaps not as sharp as he once was and now at 147 pounds, can Matthysse get on a another run?

The odds for this fight are very interesting, with Pacquiao only a -230 favorite as of press time. The obvious reasons for that are because he is getting old, has untold wear on his body, is coming off a loss, and is facing a fighter noted for his KO power. Granted, the Filipino legend’s tires are threadbare. But he should have gotten a close decision win over Horn in his last fight. In addition, Matthysse hasn’t thrived at a high level like this in quite some time. After he ran up the white flag against Viktor Postol in 2015, he has fought just twice—beating Emmanuel Taylor last year and unbeaten Tewa Kiram earlier this year. Do those wins constitute Matthysse being reborn? I’m not so sure.

Matthysse is no spring chicken at 35 following a run at the world-class level marked with some wars where he absorbed a lot of punishment. A ferocious puncher, Matthysse can still bang with the best of them. Against Postol, a fighter who had 11 KOs in 28 fights, he quit after being outclassed and it was not a good look. The KO win over Taylor is promising, but against the 38-0 Kiram, Matthysse was facing a fighter who wasn’t as good as his record and is underpowered to compete with the top guys at 147 pounds. In other words, Matthysse is still a dangerous fighter and certainly a threat to a boxer on his last legs like Pacquiao, but I’m not sure how resurgent he really is and in terms of being a spent force, his state might not be all that dissimilar from Pacquiao’s. In fact, with 2016 wins over Tim Bradley and Jessie Vargas, Pacquiao’s recent body of work is stronger.

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By the same token, this is a period in Pacquiao’s career where betting against him makes some sense. There was a time not long ago when that was a losing proposition. But after maintaining pretty well for the last several years, the Horn fight suggested a fighter who is only a shadow of his illustrious former self. It’s hard to imagine Horn being so much as marginally competitive against the Pacman of 4-5 years ago. Granted, Manny probably deserved the decision, but it was a rough-and-tumble fight where Pacquiao’s wear and tear were fairly evident. And it’s nothing against Pacquiao, as there aren’t many fighters you can name who were still even this viable 20 years after first fighting for a world title.

Pacquiao will be without trainer Freddie Roach for the first time in years, with longtime assistant Buboy Fernandez taking over. It’s unclear how much that really matters at this point, but it’s a sign that we’re deep into Pacquiao’s final chapter as a fighter. Team Pacquiao has perhaps made a good and calculating move in terms of opponent selection. Matthysse has a name and with two KO wins in a row, he has restored some confidence in his brand. In reality, he’s a fighter on the decline who looks beatable. Can Pacquiao take advantage? Or will his depreciated state be exploited by the Argentine’s punching power?

Stylistically, there are some things to still like about Pacquiao in this matchup. Speed and movement are typically elements that trouble Matthysse and Manny can still bring those things to the table. Though he has some memorable KOs on his record, Pacquiao has not scored a KO in nearly nine years! It can be hard when an aging fighter can’t call on an equalizer and is basically relegated to going the hard 12-round distance. Still, his in-and-out style, combined with his mastery of angles should give the more one-dimensional Matthysse some trouble.

Historically, betting on favored big-name fighters whose needles are hovering around “E” can be a very dicey proposition. Taking a look at most superstar fighters of the past, very few ended their careers on a winning note. And it’s often fighters like Matthysse who pull off the upset, incomplete and flawed fighters who had the one compelling trait of extreme punching power. It’s certainly no secret that Pacquiao is no longer near his peak. Still, people can be reluctant to truly acknowledge the fading of great fighters.

The odds are understandable. Still, for a fighter who has typically been overvalued for much of his career, Pacquiao is getting decent wagering value here. One can easily understand the angle of Matthysse backers, taking a big-hitting fighter who has some confidence back against a favored old fighter who looks ready to go. I would just like better return on Matthysse if he were able to turn the trick, as he has issues of his own. I see Pacquiao being able to skate by here. I’m taking Manny in this one.

Loot’s Pick to Win the Fight: I’m betting on Manny Pacquiao at -230. Bet this fight for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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