World Boxing Association welterweight champion Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse is set to arrive in Manila on April 18 to formally accept the challenge of eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao at the City of Dreams Grand Ballroom here.
Pacquiao, the challenger, expressed his elation as his MP Promotions company has completed preparations for the two-city press conference and media tour ending in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on April 20. Dubbed “Fight of Champions,” the mega-fight will usher in Pacquiao’s debut as a fight promoter at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur featuring three other world title fights in the undercard.
“It is all systems go for the Pacquiao Vs Matthysse fight,” said Pacquiao, who is hoping to equal if not surpass the expectations leading to the grandiose Muhammad Ali-Joe Bugner fight which was also held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July 1975.
“We have assembled the biggest fight card Malaysia has been waiting for in the last 43 years since Ali-Bugner,” added Pacquiao.
Matthysse, the dangerous 36-year-old champion from Argentina who tallied 36 knockouts out of his 39 wins, and against only four losses, has started training with Joel Diaz. Diaz also trained Timothy Bradley, whom Pacquiao has faced thrice in the past.
“This is the fight I have always wanted. The opportunity to fight a future Hall of Famer such as Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao inspires me to work harder than ever to earn a victory for my fans. I know that it will not be easy. But I will defend my title with honor and represent my country Argentina with pride,” said Matthysse.
Pacquiao is also set to welcome Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar de la Hoya, the promoter of Matthysse. “This early, we would like to thank the people who have made this event happen and I thank all boxing fans for their support,” said Pacquiao.
Pacquiao will be joined by his new promotions team along with trainers Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez and Raides “Nonoy” Neri.
Interestingly, no mention of longtime Pacquiao cohorts Bob Arum or Freddie Roach.