By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao is interested in facing WBA World welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse in April or May. Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) won the vacant WBA ‘regular’ 147 lb. title in stopping #1 WBA Tewa Kiram (38-1, 28 KOs) in the 8th round last month on January 27 on Showtime Boxing at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Immediately after the fight, the 35-year-old Matthysse made it clear to the media that he wants to face Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) in his first title defense. However, Pacquiao’s 86-year-old promoter Bob Arum is said to be keeping him in house in fighting Top Rank stable fighter Mike Alvarado (38-4, 26 KOs) on the undercard of WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford on April 14 on ESPN pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York.
You can argue for the Horn-Crawford fight card to be on PPV, it would need Pacquiao to be fighting on the card. If Pacquiao chooses to fight in May against Matthysse, then that will take the air completely out of the Horn vs. Crawford fight card on ESPN PPV on April 14th. The boxing fans aren’t going to want to pay to see Crawford and Horn fight. That’s an awful mismatch, and the fans know that.
“I want Matthysse,” Pacquiao said to Fightnews.com. “I can fight in April or even May.”
if Top Rank drags their heels about making a Pacquiao vs. Matthysse fight, then it’s not likely that fight will happen. It’s more probable that Pacquiao will face Top Rank fighter Mike Alvarado on the Crawford-Horn undercard on April 14.
Normally you would think that star fighter like Pacquiao would get his way just by him speaking up, but that’s not likely to be the case. Pacquiao said he wanted to fight Amir Khan last year, and instead Arum matched him against fellow Top Rank fighter Jeff Horn in a Brisbane, Australia. It turned out to be a bad deal for Pacquiao. Instead of him getting a likely knockout win over Amir Khan, he roughed up for 12 rounds by the much bigger Horn and ended up losing a controversial decision in Australia. If Pacquiao had never agreed to fight Horn, he likely would have beaten Khan and his career would be in better shape today than it currently is. Pacquiao saying he wants to fight Matthysse next doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. It’ll be up to Pacquiao if he wants to push hard for the fight.
If Pacquiao doesn’t push like crazy, it’s possible he’ll wind up facing 37-year-old former light welterweight champion Mike Alvarado on the Crawford vs. Horn undercard on April 14 on ESPN PPV. In fact, that’s what we’ll likely see happen. If Arum wants Pacquiao to fight Alvarado or whoever on the Horn vs. Crawford undercard, then it’s highly probable that the Filipino star will wind up on the undercard. The thing is once you start fighting undercards at 39, it’s all downhill from there. It would be a mistake on Pacquiao’s part to agree to fight the journeyman Alvarado, but it would be an arguably worse mistake for him to say yes to fighting on the Crawford-Horn undercard.
Matthysse is Golden Boy Promotions and Pacquiao with Top Rank. For Pacquiao to fight Matthysse, Arum would have to negotiate the fight with Golden Boy. Would Arum do that? I have my doubts. It would be a great fight for Pacquiao, because he would have an excellent chance of beating the 35-year-old Matthysse, who has a brawling style of fighting that he likes. It would be a big positive for Pacquiao’s career if he would beat Broner to win the WBA title. It would it would help Pacquiao win back a lot of boxing fans he lost following his defeats to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Jeff Horn.
Pacquiao has had 3 less than spectacular matches since his loss to Mayweather in facing Tim Bradley, Jessie Vargas and Horn. All 3 of those fighters are with Arum’s Top Rank stable. Pacquiao would have been better off fighting Khan, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter or Keith Thurman. Matching Pacquiao against those fighters would have kept his name at the top of the sport. Arum’s decision to match Pacquiao in a third fight against Bradley was a waste, as was putting him in with Jessie Vargas, who had recently been beaten by Bradley. There was no interest in Pacquiao-Bradley 3 or Pacquiao-Vargas. The biggest mistake by Top Rank was to match Pacquiao against Horn in Australia. That kind of match-making makes you wonder what’s going on with the decision making with Top Rank. Pacquiao was there only PPV fighter in their company, and they’re going to have fight in Jeff Horn’s hometown in Brisbane, Australia. The fight had trouble written all over it the moment that it was made, and Pacquiao should have rejected the fight.
If Pacquiao ends up fighting Alvarado on April 14th, it’s going to be a no-win fight for him. If Pacquiao beats Alvarado easily, the boxing fans aren’t going to care, because he’s facing a shot fighter. Alvarado has lost a 4 out of his last 9 fights since 2012. Alvarado has won his last 4 fights against journeyman level opposition. Alvarado’s last win against a good fighter was in 2013 in beating Brandon Rios, who you can’t really say is a great fighter. Pacquiao beat Rios like a drum during the prime of his career in winning a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision over him in 2013. Alvarado lost twice to Rios.