Lucas Matthysse became the brightest star in the Jr. welterweight (140 pound) division on Saturday night, knocking out the talented Lamont Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KOs) in just three rounds.
After a honeymoon first round, Matthysse stepped on the gas to score a knockdown with a fierce left hook in the second round. While Peterson was up and fighting in the third, the Argentine landed a compact, devastating left hook to Peterson’s chin, flattening him out on the canvas. Peterson tumbled on the floor and propped himself back up to beat the ten count—clearly dazed—only to be sent to the canvas within seconds from yet another left hook.
Matthysse is now 34-2, with 32 victories coming by way of knockout. His KO percentage alone makes him the most fearsome 140-pounder in boxing right now, and potentially the most marketable. While no belt was on the line, it was a closely watched fight, with current The Ring Magazine 140 pound champ Danny Garcia in attendance.
The victory has earned him comparisons to Manny Pacquiao, who also savagely fought his way to stardom in wars with Erik Morrales and Juan Manuel Lopez, eventually winning lopsided victories over stars Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya. While the initial comparison came from Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer, a professional hype man, many writers can’t help but see the resemblance, including ESPN’s Dan Rafael and Bleacher Report’s Matt Fitzgerald. Both fighters have power in each hand, are offensive minded, and can even look a bit sloppy or undisciplined when they fight. And like a younger Pacquiao, Matthysse seems to function at an elite athletic level that makes up for his vulnerabilities.
While a string of dominant victories are certainly in his future, it’s also possible for Matthysse to rise to a similar level of commercial success, as Pacquiao broke cultural and language barriers to become the most popular boxer around.
Accordng to Chris Mannix, Matthysse would rather fight Pac-Man than hear the comparisons:
Matthysse says he is happy people are comparing him to @mannypacquiao, but what he really wants is to fight him.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 19, 2013
Pacquiao (54-5-2) may be on the decline after being knocked out by longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth match, but he’s still in Matthysse’s weight range, scheduled to fight Junior Welterweight Brandon Rios. Should Pacquiao beat the young slugger (coming off a loss in his exciting rematch with Mike Alvarado) he’ll have his choice of opponents in the 140- to 154-pound range.
Lucas Matthysse will be watching Pacquiao’s career, and his spotlight, closely.