Manny Pacquiao’s performance over Lucas Matthysse on Saturday night was enough to make believers out of even the most sceptical, or so it seems, Social media was awash with plaudits from fight fans that only a day or so earlier were calling for his retirement, coming to the conclusion that he still has enough to challenge for divisional supremacy.
But a lick of paint can be deceiving, the cracks of which remain hidden from eyesight, a new head trainer employed gives us the impression that he was back to his best and the performance was, of course, impressive but if I was to play devil’s advocate, was Matthysse even competitive? He looked disinterested even in his post-fight comments, making it sound like he was privileged to share the ring with Manny more so than defend his title.
Before I continue and get called up on it, I did write a fight report with the heading He’s still got it because he always has, his hand speed as remained, his footwork is continuous and yes I do believe he still has enough to beat the majority of the divisions front-runners, just not THE front runners or the man that Bob Arum would love to feed him to (Lomachenko)
So which viable options are out there for him?
A rematch with Jeff Horn to write a wrong would be a good option. I felt that Pacquiao won the first fight between the two in Australia but for home cooking from the judges, it was awarded to Horn. Pacquiao may want to revisit the fight like he did with Timothy Bradley which is one that is very much winnable.
Another route would be Danny Garcia who he was due to meet in 2017, Pacquiao had decisioned Jessie Vargas and Garcia had knocked out his namesake Samuel Vargas a couple of weeks later, unfortunately, Garcia opted to face Keith Thurman instead which is a decision that relieved him of his title. Now that Pacquiao holds a title it could bring Garcia back to the table.
The aforementioned Keith Thurman would present a solid matchup also, even at this stage of Pacquiao’s career. both men share some of the same attributes which envisage a decent fight between the pairing. Thurman is coming off a long layoff so wouldn’t want to jump straight in with Pacquiao but this could be one for later on as Manny brings his farewell tour to its final halt.
Please don’t slate me for this, but the one that intrigues me is Amir Khan, stories of sparring between the two have long stayed with me and I don’t need reminding that it’s way past its sell-by date, but I still feel the former stablemates would make a great fight due to the blend of styles.
I’m sure you will see some obvious omissions to the shortlist in Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr and Vasyl Lomachenko and its for good reason, I think they would eat this version of Pacquiao for breakfast and I for one would hate to sees a legendary figure like Pacquiao go out like so many of the past.
Same can also be said of a Floyd Mayweather rematch, Its a fight that hurt Pacquiao mentally as ‘Money’ coasted to a decision win and sure enough a rematch would go exactly the same way. We can argue until we are blue in the face of Prime Vs. Prime but the reality is that the fight was way past its most competitive.
I hope Pacquiao is being advised to take a safer route on his winding down of his hall of fame career, he deserves all the accolades that he has coming to him, a living legend in every sense of the wording.
Money always talks in the end, Pacquiao’s generous nature may have caught up with him and will demand the more lucrative fights, let’s just hope it doesn’t fall away as we have seen so often to our heroes of the past.