LUCAS Matthysse showed up in a barong tagalog for the press conference of his July 15 fight against Manny Pacquiao where the former's World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight crown will be at stake.
The 35-year-old champion looked good in the plain white, embroidered long sleeved formal shirt which, according to Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy Promotions and part of the Matthysee entourage, they bought in a nearby mall.
It was Matthysse’s way of showing respect to his gracious host.
“He wanted to wear it out of respect for being a first timer (here) in the Philippines,” said Gomez, who also acts as the champ’s interpreter when they met the local press at the City of Dreams just hours upon arrival on Wednesday.
Inside the ring though, it’s a totally different thing.
“I always prepare for 12 rounds, but I’m always thinking to finish every fight with a KO,” said Matthysse of what should be expected of the Pacquiao bout at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The native of Trelew, Chubut, Argentina has fought some of the biggest names in boxing such as Danny Garcia, Zab Judah, Ruslan Provodnikov, Humberto Soto, Devon Alexander, and Viktor Postol.
But Matthysse knows facing a boxing great and superstar in Pacquiao is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, more so if he gets to beat the only fighter to win eight world titles in as many division.
“This is going to be huge for my career and for myself, and for everybody,” said Matthysse, whose personal record stands at 39-4, with 36 KOs. "He's a legendary fighter. Whenever you guys have a chance to fight Manny Pacquiao, it's a great honor. I'm very excited."
Matthysse, who has a 12-year-old daughter who’s into gymnastics and now ice hockey, only met Pacquiao personally for the first time during the press launch. The closest he got to seeing the Filipino senator fight was on television, the most memorable of which was his trilogy with retired Mexican champion Eric Morales.
Although his camp considers Pacquiao merely a shadow of his old, deadly self, Matthysse stressed he’s not about to get overconfident in his first title defense of the WBA belt.
“He’s still a very good fighter. And he has done a lot in his career. We can’t underestimate him,” said the Argentine of his 39-year-old challenger (59-7-2, 38 KOs).