KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Boxing star Manny Pacquiao has high aspirations of surpassing the expectations of Muhammad Ali’s 1975 match at Merdeka Stadium here, when the former takes on World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight champion, Lucas Matthysse, on July 15.
Pacquiao, 39, will be making a comeback to ring at the Axiata Arena here, almost a year after losing the welterweight belt in a unanimous decision to Jeff Horn in Australia on July 2 last year, wanted to make the bout as the most anticipated event.
“We have assembled the biggest fight card Malaysia has been waiting for in the last 43 years since the Muhammad Ali-Joe Bugner fight in July 1975,” Manny told Bernama in a statement issued by his promotion company, MP Promotions and Events.
The Philippines senator, who is the only eight-division world champion with 11 major titles, has won 59 (38 knockouts) out of 68 fights in his career.
Meanwhile, 35-year-old dangerous Matthysse who is highly inspired to challenge Pacquiao, has started training with Joel Diaz for the bout dubbed as ‘Fight of Champions’.
“This is the fight I have always wanted. The opportunity to fight a future Hall of Famer such as Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao inspires me to work harder than ever to earn a victory for my fans.
“I know that it will not be easy. But I will defend my title with honour and represent my country Argentina with pride,” said Matthysse, who tallied 36 knockouts out of his 39 wins, against only four losses.
The Argentine is scheduled to arrive for a press conference in Manila on Wednesday for an official announcement to confirm the WBA Welterweight title fight.
Both fighters will later schedule a press conference and media tour in Kuala Lumpur on Friday to promote the bout, which will also features three other world title fights in the undercard.
Pacquiao will be joined by his new promotions team along with trainers Restituto ‘Buboy’ Fernandez and Raides ‘Nonoy’ Neri, the statement added. — Bernama