By Dave Lockey @BoxingViper
On Saturday 18th May 2013 in Atlantic City New Jersey, the world finally sat up and took notice of a superstar in world boxing. Lucas Martin Matthysse.
For me, it’s a recognition long overdue. His record speaks for itself; 37 fights, 34 wins, 32 knockouts 1 no contest and only 2 defeats.
Those 2 defeats came at the hands of ring veteran Zab Judah in 2010 and Devon Alexander in 2011. Both fights were very contentious decisions though, with two of the judges in the Judah fight scoring the bout 114-113, 114-113 Judah and one judge scoring it 114-113 to Matthysse.
In the Alexander fight, two judges scored the fight 96-93, 95-94 in favour of Alexander and the other judge calling it 96-93 in favour of Matthysse.
These two decisions may have given a lot of fighters a reason to lose faith in the scoring system, as so many have before and we’ve all seen the negative impact this can have on a boxers career. But not Matthysse. Matthysse’s answer was simply to take no further chances – he will look to KO every future opponent.
So far, he has stayed every bit true to his word.
His dismantling of Humberto Soto in 2012 was evidence of the power this guy packs into his punches. The body shots that he inflicted on a very tough Soto that night were sickening and he duly stopped Soto in the fifth round to claim the vacant WBC Continental Americas Light Welterweight Title.
Next, he claimed the Interim WBC Light Welterweight title by stopping the unbeaten Ajose Olusegun in the 10th round of their 2012 contest. He defended this title successfully against Mike Dallas Jnr in January this year with a stunning 1st round KO.
After the fight with Dallas Jnr, the boxing community were starting to take a bit more notice and there was even talk of Matthysse being lined up for a shot at the WBC champ Danny Garcia.
Then came the Lamont Peterson fight last Saturday. Peterson, as we know, was the conqueror of Amir Khan in 2011 – albeit by controversial circumstances. He has had notable fights with the likes of Timothy Bradley, Victor Ortiz and Kendall Holt. Durable, dogged and he had never been stopped.
The first round of the Matthysse v Peterson fight showed why Peterson was always labelled a smart boxer. He got in and out of range often frustrating Matthysse as he tried to load up that lethal left hook. I would even go as far as to say that Peterson was comfortable and in control at that point.
The second round however would alter the path of the fight entirely. A glancing blow from the left hand of Matthysse as Peterson was caught on the ropes was enough to send the man from DC to the canvas. He got to his feet and regained his composure before being allowed to box on by Steve Smoger. In all honesty though, if that punch had been 6 inches lower, it would have been an even earlier night for Matthysse.
He didn’t need to wait too much longer though as the breakthrough came in round 3. Peterson was losing his legs from the knockdown in round 2 and decided to engage with Matthysse more frequently. Finally, it was a decision which would backfire as Matthysse landed a shuddering left hook bang on the chin of Peterson to send him to the floor once more.
Peterson, looked like he had seen a ghost as he fell. Yet amazingly, he got up once more although now very unsteady on his feet. Steve Smoger gave him the obligatory 8 count and let him box on again. This was a dangerous call from a very experienced and well respected official in my opinion.
It made no difference though as the next flurry of punches dropped Peterson for the final time and Smoger had no choice but to call it off.
As Matthysse celebrated his 34th victory and 32nd knockout, the cameras panned to Danny Garcia in the crowd. Garcia was defiant in his messages holding his finger up and miming “I’m number one”. However, there was a look in his eye that indicated he did not fully believe that statement anymore.
You see, Garcia must face Matthysse at some point and I think that some point has arrived a lot sooner than he would have wished. He looked like a fighter who had realised his crown could be snatched away at any point against Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse.
Garcia, in my opinion is a very one dimensional fighter. He has a lethal left hook, as evident in the Khan fight and the Morales rematch. However, he seldom works the angles as effectively as he possibly could and his movement could do with a lot of improving.
Matthysse though, seems to have it all. His movement is still not to the standard he will need to maintain to be a dominant force in world boxing, but anything he lacks in that department is more than made up in his explosive power and durability. This power comes from both hands too and unlike Garcia, he will look for more than one area of the body to target and take out his opponent.
Although nothing has been confirmed about Matthysse fighting Garcia for the WBC strap, I think it’s a fight that Golden Boy can not avoid making now. I also think it’s a fight in which Matthysse will win and announce himself as undoubtedly the best 140lb fighter in the world.
After that, what next? Does he stay in the light welterweight division and defend his titles against potentially big pay day opponents like Juan Manuel Marquez, Amir Khan, Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado?
Or does he take the step up to 147lbs and aim towards the stars such as Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley?
Let’s not forget, he has the 2 defeats on his record that I’m sure he might want to rectify and wouldn’t it be great if he could have a potential barnstorming match against fellow Argentine and also heavy handed Marcos Maidana? Maidana incidentally defeated Matthysse 3 times in the amateurs and they drew once too.
That was the past, this is now and I firmly believe Lucas Martin “The Machine” Matthysse is the future for as long as he chooses to be.