Manny Pacquiao has one more big run on his mind as the eight-weight world champion continues preparations for his clash with Lucas Matthysse.
The 39 year-old headhunted the Argentinian hardman following Matthysse’s victory over Tewa Kiram, although many see the challenge as a tough one for the Filipino legend.
‘Pacman’ knows he can ill-afford a slip-up despite seemingly defeating Jeff Horn last year as the judges saw it differently and a loss to Matthysse would still see Pacquiao suffer back-to-back losses.
Retirement is a word which has long been thrown around when talk of Pacquiao hits the headlines as the Senator of his homeland bids to prove the doubters wrong on July 14 in Kuala Lumpur.
“I chose Lucas Matthysse among many other fighters because I know that his style and my brand of boxing can only bring the best results for all fans to see,” Pacquiao exclusively told World Boxing News.
“Of course, he has a champion’s belt which makes it more interesting.”
On approaching his 40th birthday and fighting on in search of further glory, Pacquiao added: “I still feel great despite my age. I believe I can still deliver a performance worth watching.
“A win against Lucas Matthysse in a huge fight like this will be my ticket to bigger opportunities. I am the challenger and this is the eleventh championship belt that I am hoping to get.”
Asked why he decided to leave the United States behind in order to fight in Malaysia, the veteran stated the chance for Asian fans to see him live was the main reason.
“The Philippines and Malaysia are neighbors. The weather is almost the same, so I am just excited to fight and at the same time promote it.
“My aim was to bring boxing back to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia,” concluded the future Hall of Famer.
Those ‘big opportunities’ Pacquiao speaks of could be clashes with the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko, Mikey Garcia, Terence Crawford and the winner of Danny Garcia v Shawn Porter.
Moving back down to 140 pounds has been on the agenda for some time, although Pacquiao is not overlooking the current obstacle in his way as he gets whipped into shape by trainer Buboy Fernandez.
Matthysse hits hard despite coming up from the super-lightweight limit himself, and unless Pacquiao is somewhere close to his highest level, he could come unstuck and miss out on a lucrative collision later in the year.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay