Pacquiao-Matthysse: No weight problems
MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao's challenge for Argentine Lucas Matthysse's World Boxing Association (WBA) regular welterweight title is officially underway as they both made weight for their bout billed as Fight of Champions.
The Filipino boxing legend tipped the scales at 146 lbs, a pound lighter than the welterweight limit, to the delight of a large Filipino crowd at the MITEC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the official weigh-in on Saturday, July 14.
Meanwhile, weight concerns surrounding Matthysse have been put to rest as he weighed in at 146.7 lbs.
The two fighters are slated to slug it out no earlier than 11 am on Sunday, July 15, at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur. (LIVE UPDATES: Manny Pacquiao vs Lucas Matthysse fight)
Hundreds of mainly Filipino fans tried to push forward towards the stage to get a glimpse of the two fighters and especially their hero Pacquiao.
As the fighters left following the obligatory toe-to-toe poses and a quick handshake, fans rushed in to take selfies, prompting calls to clear the stage as organizers feared it could collapse before order was restored.
Pacquiao – who knows that defeat could lower the curtain on one of the greatest careers in boxing history – faced calls to retire from friends, family and even his Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach when he lost the WBO belt to journeyman Australian Jeff Horn a year ago.
A second successive defeat, this time against the dangerous Argentine at Kuala Lumpur's Axiata Arena, could see the veteran "National Fist" hang up his gloves for good.
But victory for Pacquiao would see him become a 5-time welterweight world champion and extend his legendary status and his life in the ring beyond his 40th birthday in December.
Pacquiao is going for his 60th victory since turning pro in 1995, but despite winning 38 of his first 47 fights by knockout, he has not stopped an opponent in nine years.
Knockout specialist Matthysse has finished 36 of his 39 wins inside the distance and took the vacant WBA belt after an eighth-round stoppage of Thailand's Teerachai Sithmorseng in January.
The undercard features 3 other world title fights, and all the protagonists weighed in under their respective limits.
The interim World Boxing Association featherweight belt is on the line when Mexico's Edivaldo Ortega (26-1-1, 16 KOs) fights unbeaten and highly rated Filipino prospect Jhack Tepora (21-0, 16 KOs).
Vastly experienced South African Moruti "Baby Face" Mthalane (35-2, 24 KOs) defends his International Boxing Federation flyweight title against the unbeaten Pakistani Muhammad Waseem (8-0, 6 KOs).
Carlos Canizares of Venezuela (20-0-1, 16 KOs) puts his WBA light flyweight title and unbeaten record on the line against Chinese rookie Lu Bin (1-0, 1 KO), who could become the first boxer in history to win a world title in his second professional fight. – With a report from Agence France-Presse