Kuala Lumpur - World welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse
saluted Manny Pacquiao on Thursday but vowed to beat the Filipino boxing legend
when they square off on Sunday.
"He is a great champion but he still hasn't faced 'The
Machine'," Argentina's Matthysse told reporters at a packed press
conference in Kuala Lumpur ahead of their WBA title clash.
"If he decides to retire after I beat him then that is
his decision, I am here to defend my title."
Veteran Pacquiao, who is chasing a 60th win of his long career,
will turn 40 in December and has not fought since losing his WBO welterweight
belt to Australia's Jeff Horn in Brisbane a year ago.
Knock-out specialist Matthysse has finished 36 of his 39
wins inside the distance and won the vacant WBA belt after an eighth-round
stoppage of Thailand's Teerachai Sithmorseng in January.
His action-packed style, said Pacquiao, was one of the
reasons the fight attracted him.
"When I saw his fight against Teerachai it was a good
fight," said the Filipino, who has won world titles in an unprecedented
eight weight divisions in more than 20 years as a professional fighter.
"I believe we can create good action in the ring so the
fans will be happy."
Pacquiao was thrown out of kilter by Horn's rough-house
tactics a year ago and the Filipino's conditioning coach, Justin Fortune, said
they had prepared for similar from the aggressive Argentine.
"This guy Matthysse is a lot better than Jeff Horn, he
punches a lot harder," Australian Fortune, a former heavyweight who once
fought Lennox Lewis said.
"We are expecting the same sort of methods as
Horn," added Fortune, who said the appointment of experienced American
referee Kenny Bayless would ensure Matthysse couldn't get away with anything
"He's a very fair ref and he won't stand for any head
butts, any elbows, anything like that," said Fortune.
And Matthysse's trainer Joel Diaz hit back at accusations
that his fighter was only in Asia to pick up a big pay day.
"We got everything ready to go. Lucas Matthysse is not
here for a pay check he is here to take his title back to his people,"
said Diaz of his fighter who has a 39-4 record.
Matthysse's last defeat came against Ukrainian Viktor Postol
for a WBC super lightweight world title fight in October 2015.
"It cost us 14 years of hard work for Lucas to be a
champion. He is not going to come here and give up his belt."
Now in the twilight of a 23-year professional career,
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) has not stopped an opponent for nine years as he
juggles his boxing career with being an elected senator.
Pacquiao, who is idolised by tens of millions in the
Philippines, defied calls to retire after the Horn defeat, but said in May that
his performance in Sunday's fight could well determine his future in the ring.