Manny Pacquiao Dominates Lucas Matthysse for 1st Knockout Win Since 2009

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2018

This photo taken on May 17, 2018 shows Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao during a training session at a gym in Manila, ahead of his world welterweight boxing championship bout against Argentina's Lucas Matthysse in July. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
TED ALJIBE/Getty Images

Manny Pacquiao earned his 60th win as a professional boxer with a seventh-round technical knockout win over Lucas Matthysse on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This was a one-sided destruction for Pacquiao, who knocked down Matthysse in Rounds 3 and 5 before ending things in the seventh.

There were fans in the stands taken aback by what they saw from Pacquiao:

Pacquiao was coming off a controversial loss to Jeff Horn in July 2017. The judges awarded Horn a unanimous decision despite Pacquiao landing 90 more punches over the 12 rounds, per CompuBox. The WBO later commissioned five independent judges to review the fight, with ESPN.com reporting three scored it in favor of Horn.

By beating Matthysse, Pacquiao adds another highlight to his legendary career, and some would argue the result strengthens the idea the 39-year-old should hang up his gloves for good.

Pacquiao's legacy is already set. He's a surefire Hall of Famer, and his run from around 2007 to 2010 was electric. More critically, his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015 put a ceiling on how high he will rank among the fighters of his generation.

In short, Pacquiao has little to gain by prolonging his career.

Along the same line, there's nothing from his recent fights that would lead fans to believe he can keep up with the welterweight division's elite. The fact that Pacquiao even let Horn hang around long enough to pull off the upset was a damning indictment of Pac-Man's abilities.

Previewing the fight, Sports Illustrated's Greg Bishop didn't mince his words about why he believed a win over Matthysse could almost be counterproductive for Pacquiao:

"Imagine if Pacquiao tops Matthysse and decides to step in the ring with Terence Crawford. That won't end well, not for Pacquiao, not against any of the top welterweights, not versus Errol Spence Jr. or Keith Thurman or even Danny Garcia. Best case: Pacquiao finishes those bouts on his feet. Worst case: he further damages his brain."

Pacquiao remains one of boxing's biggest stars, so there's little doubt he can continue to pad his bank account in the ring.

He's in something of a difficult position with regard to another prospective fight, though.

Pacquiao's name doesn't carry the cachet it did a few years ago, so casual fans are unlikely to be interested in seeing him match up with a less renowned welterweight. Were he to take on a top-class welterweight, he would risk suffering an embarrassing loss, as Bishop laid out.

Walking away from the sport entirely might be Pacquiao's best move, even if he's leaving money on the table to do so.

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