And the man he wants next is Danny Garcia, the current WBC and WBA (“super”) junior welterweight champion.
“Yes, I make no secret about it whatsoever. I want Danny Garcia,” he stated without hesitation. Being the WBC interim titlist, Matthysse should be due a crack at that title sometime this year (but remember; this is the WBC. They have a way of interpreting their rules as they see fit. Just ask Olusegun Ajose, who was basically kept away from Erik Morales and then Garcia for the better part of a year, then forced to face Matthysse in September). Despite this, the native of Buenos Aires told Maxboxing, “I feel very good because I know the WBC understands my position that I have to fight Danny Garcia. I’ve been reading on the internet that the fight is going to happen - has to happen - but I have to defeat Mike Dallas and Danny Garcia has to beat Zab Judah in order to make the fight. My people and Golden Boy and the WBC, I think we are on the same page. We know this fight is a big fight; Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse and that would make me very happy. That’s why I’m not taking this fight easy; I have to win it in good fashion. I have to win it in order to get that fight against Garcia.”
(Garcia also holds a WBA belt, so dropping that particular strap is also an option he has rather than face Matthysse in a more lucrative fight.)
But yes, Dallas does stand in the way of Matthysse’s ambitions. While some may view this as a tune-up tilt against an ESPN-level foe, the reality is, it’s a lot like a playoff game in that a loss puts you back at the end of the line. It’s one thing to be on the short end of the stick in highly-debated decisions versus the likes of Zab Judah and Devon Alexander but you’re expected to dominate Dallas if you’re that guy everyone says you are.
When asked if focus has been a problem, Matthysse responds, “Not at all,” adding, “I just went to my camp and I did the same as I did for the other big fights that I had in the past, big concentration, because I don’t want any mistakes. I just want to win.”
And if he does, bigger things lie ahead.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer says of Matthysse’s near-future, “We definitely want him to fight for a world title. He’s in line there for Danny Garcia, so we’ll have to see what happens with Dallas. So that’s definitely a possibility. He already is there with an interim world title and so that’s definitely a possibility. There’s so many talented fighters there at 140, which we can match him up with. Maybe the winner of Lamont Peterson-Kendall Holt is a possibility or an Amir Khan is another possibility. So there’s plenty of names there which would be a possibility. I mean, the one fight I would love to see, which really out of all those would be the ‘Cry for me, Argentina’ showdown between Lucas Matthysse and Marcos Maidana.”
Of the Argentinean “un-Civil War,” Matthysse states, “Y’ know what? I don’t know but I’ve always been willing to fight anybody and that depends on the promoters. If you follow my career, I never ducked nobody. If they say you have to fight with this guy, I’ll fight him.” Hey, just program “The Machine” and set him on his path of destruction. “If they say, ‘Maidana’s in the future for you,’ I will take it because this is my job to fight.”
Regardless, if you look at the 140-pound landscape, there are fan-friendly and anticipated fights to be made all over. And of course, it helps that the large majority of them are under a Golden umbrella. “The bottom line is I expect it to be a very big year for Lucas Matthysse because I think he is one of the top one, two, three of the 140-pounders and is always in exciting fights. He’s the kind of guy we want to see as do fight fans,” proclaimed Schaefer.
But right now, no matter how popular he is with the hardcore fans, Matthysse is still is a guy who represents high risk and low reward. His last outing in September sold less than a 1,000 tickets at the Hard Rock Hotel and he still doesn’t move the Nielsen needle all that much. Regardless, Showtime is on board. Stephen Espinoza, GM and VP of Showtime, states, “He’s a major part of the game plan. Personally, I think he’s one of the most entertaining fighters out there. There’s a good portion of our subscribers and your readers who feel the same. We had to give him a fight to sort of get him on schedule with some of the other names in the division. But essentially, a lot of the work that we did the second half of last year was to set up the series of big fights that is now laid out in front of him and others in that division.
“Not to demean or look past Mike Dallas at all but if Lucas can successfully get past that fight, you’ve got all kinds of guys that are going to be ready to fight at about the same time. From Maidana to Garcia or Judah - whoever wins that fight - there will be guys looking to return to the ring at the same time that Lucas is that would make for some really interesting fights.”
Much like his countryman, Sergio Martinez, Matthysse is a foreigner in America without a natural fan-base to draw upon and will need the push of a network to reach his goals.
“No question,” said Espinoza. “There’s a certain part of star-making that has to do with the innate charisma and athletic performance but there’s a lot the network can do to help. And he’s someone, for very good reason, who could develop a very broad and devoted fan-base. He brings action every time he comes to the ring. Never a dull moment and for that reason alone, it’s somebody I want to highlight on our network.”
This country is going through a renaissance regarding the “Sweet Science” with the likes of Martinez, Matthysse and Maidana, among others. Martinez, the reigning middleweight champion of the world, is scheduled to defend his title on April 27th in Buenos Aires in a soccer stadium where more than 40,000 spectators are expected to show up.
“In Argentina, boxing is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. If you remember last year, we had three Argentineans in Vegas, something you don’t see very often,” said Matthysse, who was part of the trio performing in “Sin City” in 2012. “But that shows you that boxing in Argentina is having one of its best moments. So we need to keep winning and winning and bring more boxing from Argentina to the United States to show our skills.”
Matthysse spent much of his early career in his home country but it’s here in the States where the money is.
“I’m going to be honest with you; the big fights are in America. The most important fights always happen overseas in the United States, so I’d rather fight here in United States,” said Matthysse, who added, “but it would be a great honor to fight in front of my people.”
Speaking of Khan, Schaefer stated to Maxboxing on Tuesday afternoon, “He’s definitely going to be coming back on April the 20th; that’s confirmed. The question is going to be if his fight’s going to be from the U.S. or the U.K. He would like to do it from the U.K. and that is a possibility. I will be discussing with Stephen Espinoza some of the names if the fight happens to be in the U.K. The situation is, his first choice would be Danny Garcia to get the rematch but we all know that Danny’s going to be fighting [on February 9th] and that’s not going to work from a timing point of view. So that fight couldn’t happen for April.”
Then there are other personal matters that will affect Khan’s professional plans, according to Schaefer.
“Amir can’t fight later in April because he’s going to get married in May and then it’s going to be Ramadan, so he’s planning on fighting twice this year, April 20th and then a November/December time-frame.”
WARM CALIFORNIA FLURRIES
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