Eight-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao will be out to prove he still has a lot to offer the boxing world on July 15 (July 14 in the U.S.), as he faces Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur.
Pacquiao, who has won 59 of his 68 professional bouts, is seeking to bounce back from a surprising and controversial loss to Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia, a year ago. The 39-year-old lost the WBO title in that defeat.
He'll be seeking to win the WBA welterweight belt from Matthysse, although it's unlikely to be a straightforward assignment for the Filipino. The Argentinian has 39 wins from his 43 fights, with 36 of those victories coming inside the distance.
Here's a look at the latest odds for the fight, a preview of the contest and a prediction for how the scorecards will come out.
Pacquiao win (-213)
Matthysse win (+155)
Fight to go the distance (-250)
Matthyse via decision or technical decision (+700)
Result odds are courtesy of OddsShark
Prop bets courtesy of OddsChecker
Pacquiao Out to Prove He's Still Got It
There's no denying that Pacquiao is one of the modern-day boxing greats given what he has accomplished in the sport. However, there are some concerns he's reaching the twilight of his fighting career.
It will be more than a year out of the ring in professional fights for Pacquiao by the time July 15 rolls around. He was defeated in his last fight, as Horn registered an incredible upset on home turf.
Horn was well beaten by Terence Crawford recently, and journalist Kevin Iole doesn't believe that bodes well for Pacquiao:
In fairness to Pacman, his loss to Horn was in controversial circumstances.
ESPN Stats & Info noted the numbers paint a different picture:
Still, it was a fourth loss in nine for Pacquiao, and speaking about his opponent in the buildup to the upcoming fight, Matthysse said the defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 has triggered a downturn in form for the Filipino, per BBC Sport.
"Sure, Manny has won so many titles, I only won one title," he said. "I am not going to give it up. I will die for it if I have to. I will defend this title to the death."
Pacquiao posted the following on his Twitter account, suggesting he is also up for the battle:
The odds reflect a fight that is going to not only be tight in Kuala Lumpur, but there'll be an intriguing clash of stylistic traits.
Pacquiao may not be as ferocious as he once was, but he can still throw punches in flurries and find angles that are tough for opponents to stop. In addition, the experience he has will help him get through difficult moments, which will surely come given the way in which Matthysse goes after his opponents.
While the Argentinian may also be a little past his peak at 35, he's been more active than Pacquiao, fighting and beating Tewa Kiram in January this year to win the vacant WBA belt with an eighth-round stoppage. This fight will be a lot closer, but Matthysse has the tools to get the better of an ageing Pacman over 12 rounds.
Prediction: Matthysse via unanimous decision: 115-113, 115-113, 116-112