Lucas Matthysse's third-round TKO of Lamont Peterson on Saturday evening confirmed his status as the best junior-welterweight fighter in boxing. It also gave credibility to the comparison that Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Shaefer made following the dominant win.
As documented by Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News, Schaefer did nothing to dismiss the buzz and hype surrounding the explosive Argentine victor, analogizing him to a prolific welterweight:
We have a new Manny Pacquiao from Argentina and his name is Lucas Matthysse. We have just seen one of the most spectacular performances and this was at the highest level against a very good fighter in Peterson. This was a huge statement.
By the time the bout was stopped at 2:14 in Round 3, Matthysse's thunderous punches had dropped Peterson to the canvas three times—including twice in that decisive round.
Despite an orthodox stance, it was two crushing left hooks—one at the end of Round 2, and the other stopping the fight—that drove Matthysse to the unexpectedly early triumph.
That boosted Matthysse's career record to 34-2, with 32 of his wins coming through knockouts. But this was clearly the landmark win of his career, and it sets up a matchup with WBC light welterweight champion Danny Garcia.
It's not as if Peterson was slouch, either. Entering his fight with Matthysse, the only loss the IBF light welterweight title holder lost was to undefeated American counterpart Timothy Bradley—and it took 12 rounds.
Though Pacquiao is a southpaw, the stylistic similarities between him and Matthysse are visible. Both have lightning-quick hands, optimal agility and reflexes and devastating body shots thanks to sensational hooks—even with their non-dominant arms.
Attacking is the primary strategy on both fighters' minds, which can make them susceptible to punishment, but not when they're at the top of their game.
Both have had their fair share of controversial decisions, too. All three fights with Juan Manuel Marquez that preceded Pacquiao's recent loss to his arch-rival were 12-round, grueling epics, with Pacman getting the nod in two and drawing the other.
Ironically, it was Bradley who won a polarizing split decision to win the WBO welterweight title.
Matthysse has had his fair share of letdowns. His two prior losses were to Devon Alexander and Zab Judah—both split decisions.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports that Matthysse is pleased with the Pacquiao comparisons, but essentially feels that talk is cheap unless they compete against each other:
Chris Mannix @ChrisMannixYS
Matthysse says he is happy people are comparing him to @MannyPacquiao, but what he really wants is to fight him.5/19/2013, 3:41:44 AM
What made Matthysse's coming out party all the more impressive—and proved he is on a rapid rise to boxing prominence—were the trials and tribulations he endured just to reach the ring in Atlantic City, New Jersey's Boardwalk Hall.
CraveOnline.com's Tim Smith reported earlier in the week that Matthysse was robbed in his native land by someone he did not know, and the burglar cut up his passport.
That prevented Matthysse from arriving to the United States earlier in order to acclimate to the different environment and prepare for the fight. It didn't seem to matter when the lights came on Saturday, though, because Matthysse was punishing.
Showing that sort of mental fortitude despite turbulence in his personal life has also been a defining characteristic of Pacquiao throughout his illustrious career.
Though Pacquiao's past of gambling and heavy drinking were self-inflicted, it still compares to Matthysse's fire and passion to overcome adversity and perform at such a high level as a fighter.
The 30-year-old Matthysse is entering the prime of his career. Garcia is a perfect 26-0 with a recent victory over Judah to his credit, but it's hard to bet against Matthysse moving forward after Saturday's display.
It's also difficult to dismiss comparisons between Matthysse and even someone with the gaudy status of Pacquiao, because that is his ceiling.
Note: All statistics and bout history for all fighters, unless otherwise indicated, are courtesy of BoxRec.com.
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