(credit: Tom Casino, Showtime)
So it looks like we have a new superstar -- a new Manny Pacquiao, if you choose to believe the CEO of the company that promotes him. Lucas Matthysse, the taciturn, mysterious Argentinian who for so long...
(credit: Tom Casino, Showtime)
So it looks like we have a new superstar -- a new Manny Pacquiao, if you choose to believe the CEO of the company that promotes him. Lucas Matthysse, the taciturn, mysterious Argentinian who for so long lurked on the fringes of the fans’ consciousness at 140, popping up here and there to blow away an unfortunate opponent with unstoppable barrages of ambidextrous power, only to come up short in his two biggest fights against Devon Alexander and Zab Judah, seems to have finally arrived. Blasting out Lamont Peterson in three rounds over the weekend was an outcome very few outside of Matthysse’s camp predicted beforehand. We all knew he had power, sure. But Peterson had never come close to being stopped in any his previous fights, with his most recent outing, against a big, albeit limited puncher in Kendall Holt, arguably being his finest performance to date.
Matthysse’s declaration of war has not only served to rip open the light welterweight division and make Danny Garcia a very nervous man, it’s also forced a lot of marketeers to go back to the drawing board behind the scenes and contemplate how exactly they are to make the most of this thrilling new "artista de knockout." Comparisons with Pacquiao are all well and good, but they overlook the key factor in Manny’s rise to superstardom: a little known Mexican-American named Oscar De La Hoya. Pacquiao made his name off the beating he dished out to the Golden Boy back in 2008. He was known to boxing fans beforehand, of course, but that megafight made headlines around the world, and immediately gained the Pacman a legion of followers with a taste for the Vegas lights and ever-steeper pay-per-view pricetags. The same goes for Floyd Mayweather, even if he’d be loathe to admit it. A cursory glance at Pretty Boy’s PPV buy figures before and after the De La Hoya fight is all that’s needed to spell out the boost it gave him.
In short, both guys used victories over De La Hoya, at the time the most marketable name in the sport, to catapult themselves into its uppermost strata. Matthysse has no such luxury, unless Oscar fancies coming out of retirement and foregoing the life of private jets and corporate lunches he currently enjoys for the task of slimming down to super lightweight and pounding the slopes of Big Bear once last time. I suppose you could argue that Floyd’s the current Golden Boy, and he certainly isn’t one to shy away from the role of “payday provider." But there’s no way he’s going to step in with Matthysse any time soon, whether at 140 or 147. It would be a hell of a fight -- and I’d favour Floyd being able to frustrate his stocky, relatively short-armed opponent with potshots en route to a decision win -- but it’s just far too big a risk considering the stage of his career and the relatively low profile Matthysse currently holds.
Therefore, with the megafight off the table, the PR teams of Golden Boy and Showtime are left to consider other options.
It’s highly unlikely that Matthysse -- a man who I’ve never heard speak (or even appear to comprehend) a single word of English, and by all accounts enjoys a solitary life with his daughter and collection of dogs in a remote corner of Patagonia -- is going to develop into a trash-talking, supermodel-dating circus act overnight. While it would be great to see him sign up to Instagram and start posting heavily filtered snaps of $10,000 bundles scattered around his hotel room, or possibly befriend a famous New York hip hop artist and then fall out with them spectacularly, it’s not likely to happen. The whole “learning English” thing is out, too. We’re forever being told that middleweight champion Sergio Martinez is learning English, but the only two words he says are “good luck” when he touches gloves with his opponent. I suppose he might just