By John J. Raspanti
Washed up? Not yet.
Former world champion Manny Pacquiao dismantled Lucas Matthysse Saturday night at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The end came in round seven after Matthysse went down for the third time, courtesy of a Pacquiao uppercut.
"I am not done,” said the 39-year-old Pacquiao after the fight. “I’m still there."
No disagreement. Pacquiao (60-7, 39 KOs) dominated the fight from the opening bell, beating Matthysse to the punch and staying out of harms way.
“He’s a great fighter and a great champion,” said Matthysse. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Today it was my turn to lose. But I lost to a great fighter, a great legend, Manny Pacquiao.”
Pacquiao began the fight aggressively, showcasing his advantages in hand and foot speed. Matthysse popped his jab in round two but received a sharp combination in return. Pacquiao floored Matthysse for the first time in round three with a perfectly timed left uppercut. Matthysse landed on the seat of his pants, a befuddled look on his face. He beat the count and survived the round.
Matthysse gave his followers some hope in round four when he clocked Pacquiao with a right hand, but the full-time Senator from the Philippines absorbed the punch without incident. He quickly fired back, winning the round on all the scorecards.
Pacquiao continued his dominance in round five, peppering Matthysse with slick shots from different angles. Matthysse landed a hard-left hook, but, seconds later, Pacquiao caught him with a temple shot that sent Matthysse to the canvas for the second time.
Matthysse looked shell-shocked as he sat in his corner waiting for the sixth round to begin. His only chance was to land a game-changing punch, but Pacquiao, obviously slower than he was in his prime, continued to pop him with crisp blows to the head.
Near the end of round seven, Pacquiao fired his left uppercut, the same punch that had floored Matthysse earlier in the match. The blow did the trick again. Matthysse sat on one knee, a dejected look on his face. He spat out his mouthpiece as referee Kenny Bayless waved off the fight.
The time was 2:43 seconds into round seven. Styles make fights – Matthysse’s was made to order for the much more athletic Pacquiao.
“I’m surprised because Matthysse’s a very tough opponent and I knocked him down,” Pacquiao said.
The knockout victory was Pacquiao’s first since stopping Miguel Cotto in 2009.