KUALA LUMPUR: Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao considers his upcoming fight against Lucas Matthysse at Axiata Arena in KL Sports City here on July 15 as a crucial one to decide his boxing future.
The 39-year-old said he has to show his mettle against the deadly Matthysse during the World Boxing Association (WBA) Welterweight bout, especially to convince fans and critics, after suffering a shock defeat to Australian Jeff Horn in his previous outing in July last year.
“This fight is very important to me because it will dictate the course of my next fights in the future,” the “Pac-Man” said.
“I need to perform well and convince everyone that I still have it in me to continue although I feel I am still capable of showing my championship form.
“This fight is a great challenge for me because I am also coming in as the challenger,” he told Bernama when contacted in the Philippines.
Pacquiao, a Philippines senator, is the only eight-division world champion with 11 major titles.
He won 59 (38 knockouts) out of 68 fights in his career, had two draws and seven losses (three KO) in remaining matches.
The Argentine Matthysse, known as “The Machine” has a track record of 39 wins (36 KO) against four defeats (one KO).
Matthysse, 35, claimed the vacant WBA belt after defeating Thailand’s Teerachai Sithmorseng in January.
Pacquiao, who was born in northern Mindanao, admits he is not going to feel like he’s away from home for the fight dubbed as the “biggest fight in Malaysia” since the Muhammad Ali-Joe Bugner showdown in July 1975.
“Being neighbours with Malaysia, I am very familiar with Malaysia and Malaysians. Pretty much, we have the same climate and I feel at home in Malaysia,” said Pacquiao, who visited the country last month for the press conference and media tour related to the fight.