Manny Pacquiao has a lot on his plate aside from boxing and, at the age of 39, it would appear that his fighting career is coming to a close. His controversial loss to Jeff Horn last year seemed to nudge Pacquiao in that direction.
But maybe that’s not the case as boxing’s only eight-division world champion will square off with the heavy-hitting Lucas Matthysse on July 14 at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“I want to prove and show that I am not done yet,” Pacquiao said during a Wednesday news conference to formally announce the fight. Pacquiao was originally slated to face Mike Alvarado on the undercard of Terence Crawford’s showdown with Horn. But Pacquiao balked at not being the main event and moved forward with a fight against Matthysse.
Matthysse presents a much better opponent than Alvarado, but both are on the back end of their respective careers. Either way, the Filipino expects action in mid-July.
“[Matthysse] is aggressive. He can create more action than my previous fight,” he said.
The bigger story to come out of the buildup to fight was the split between Pacquiao and his longtime trainer Freddie Roach. Initially, a Pacquiao associate released a statement saying Pacquiao and Roach had parted ways, and that Buboy Fernandez would train him for the Matthysse fight along with Nonoy Neri. But as the news picked up steam, Pacquiao took to Facebook to announce that no decision had been made on Roach as of yet.
“Contrary to statements which I personally did not make that are circulating in the media, I have not made my final decision who will be my head trainer for my July 14 fight [July 15 in Malaysia] with Matthysse. My advisor Mike Koncz has been in contact with Freddie’s people to keep them informed,” Pacquiao wrote.
Roach stated that he was “hurt” by having to find out with everyone else instead of being called directly. He has trained Pacquiao since 2001 and been a major proponent for the Filipino’s rise to stardom. The tandem have been arguably the most celebrated boxing/trainer duo in the sport. There have been rumors that there was trouble in paradise after Roach told the Los Angeles Times back in February that he hasn’t heard from Pacquiao after the Horn fight and had yet to be paid.
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