IN Kuala Lumpur ahead of Manny Pacquiao’s potentially blistering showdown with WBO welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse, Oscar De La Hoya (Matthysse’s promoter) describes, in his own words, what it was like to face the Filipino idol when they fought back in 2008 – Oscar’s last ever fight.
“Pacquiao has a very unique style. When I fought him, I thought he was going to get tired. He never got tired. So, I don’t know what Pacquiao we are going to see for this fight. I don’t know how distracted he may be. I do know that Matthysse is fully focused and determined. This is the fight of his life. It’s all going to depend on how Pacquiao reacts when the first bell rings. Will it be a distracted Pacquiao? Or a Pacquiao that everyone is used to seeing? That’s why the odds are 2-1. It is a great fight.
I was already a promoter when I fought him [below]. So, I’ve always been very optimistic that I would still be working with Manny after so many years. I always felt that life comes around full circle and puts us together. The fact that Manny has his own promotional company and the fact that Golden Boy Promotions has been involved in so many of his fights made me optimistic that we would work together again. I’m still hoping that we promote more fights together. Once he’s retired, we can do a lot more together.
I noticed Pacquiao was special when part of the promotions of Pacquiao vs. Barrera. What I saw was his determination. His conditioning was incredible. His explosiveness was incredible. He had a great work ethic. He was very well prepared. I really don’t know how he is now. In boxing, you’re as good as your last fight. That’s what boxing is. That’s why this fight is important for Pacquiao to show that he is still the same Manny Pacquiao. You have to perform and show the people that you still have it. This is a sink or swim type of fight for both guys.
Lucas [below] is a strong and determined fighter. Believe me that he is a very determined fighter. The mental aspect is the most important aspect of this fight. We know that Lucas Matthysse works very hard. They call him “La Maquina” for a reason. He is still training like never before. The fact that he always wanted this fight, a dream fight for him—believe me he will be in the best condition for this. He is very focused. This is an even fight. This is a dangerous but winnable fight. These two fighters love pleasing the fans. They are come-forward fighters. This fight will have a lot of action.
A lot of people think that Lucas Matthysse is just a knockout artist. But he’s an intelligent fighter too. He knows how to box and counterpunch. This fight is interesting in terms of styles. The people who really know boxing know that Matthysse can change his style and even confuse him. He may even be able to confuse him and land some counterpunches.
If I were Lucas, I would not get frustrated because Pacquiao can frustrate you. He can do that because he throws so many punches. Lucas has to be cool, calm and collected. He has to force the action. He has to show Manny that he is younger, stronger and fresher. If you don’t show that to Manny, he can walk all over you. That’s who he is. That’s why he’s so good.”
Manny Pacquiao, in his own words, has his say: “I am very proud of promoting stronger and diplomatic cultural ties with our Asian neighbors. I would like to thank our friends at Golden Boy Promotions, represented by our friend Oscar De La Hoya. I am ready. I have never predicted the outcome of any of my fights, but this training camp is special for many reasons. I am motivated. I am happy. I am hungry. I am excited to show the world a new Manny Pacquiao on July 15 (July 14 in the US) at the Axiata Arena here in Kuala Lumpur.”