Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines won the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title after a technical knockout (TKO) win against defender Lucas Matthysse at the Axiata Arena yesterday.
The 39-year-old decorated Filipino star secured the victory in the seventh round for his career’s 60th win upon his return to the ring after 12 months since his unbelievable unanimous decision loss to Australian Jeff Horn in July last year.
Stepping into the boxing ring for the 69th time as a professional to face the hard-hitting Matthysse, the Philippine senator and boxing’s only eight-division world champion proved why he was once regarded as the greatest boxer on the planet.
Matthysse, 35, who claimed the vacant welterweight title in January after defeating Thailand’s Tewa Kiram, failed in the first title defence in his first encounter against Pacquiao, the Pacman.
Both fighters had equal scoring chances in the first two rounds, but as the fight turned intense in the beginning of the third round, Pacquiao gained the advantage as he brought down Mattyhsse in front of some 14,000 spectators.
Argentine Matthysse, nicknamed “the Machine” for his aggressive attacks, went down again at the end of the fifth round for a count after taking an uppercut of the Pacman, but he managed to stand up to continue.
Pacquiao marked his 23-year professional career with a first “KO” victory since 2009 in the seventh round when Matthysse could not continue fighting.
With the win, Pacquiao now has 60 wins (39 KO’s), seven losses and two draws under his belt, while Matthysse has recorded 39 wins (36 KO’s) and five losses.
Malaysia Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad; Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte; Malaysia Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, American singer- songwriter Jason Derulo and television actress Lindsay Price were among the prominent people who watched the match.
Hailed as the biggest boxing event in Malaysia after the 1975 Muhammad Ali-Joe Burger bout, the match was staged along with 10 supporting fights.