Future boxing Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao will make his return to the ring on July 14th versus Lucas Matthysse in a welterweight battle in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya made the announcement on social media. He wroe:
“Signed, sealed, and delivered: Proud to officially announce that WBA welterweight world champion Lucas Matthysse will put his title on the line against Manny Pacquiao in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday night July 14 (U.S. time).”
Matthysse fights under the Golden Boy banner. ESPN will televise the event; Pacquiao promoter Top Rank has a television deal with the sports network. However, Golden Boy, not Top Rank, will be promoting the event. Pacquiao has contended that his deal with the promotional outfit has expired. Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum denied this claim. Given the structure of this card, it appears a compromise has been reached, at least temporarily.
The official press conference to announce the fight has been scheduled for April 18 in Manila in Pacquiao’s home country of the Philippines. A press conference will be held in Kuala Lumpur two days later.
Pacquiao hasn’t fought since last July, when he lost a controversial, twelve-round decision to the unheralded Jeff Horn in Horn’s native Australia. The eight-division champion resembled a shell of himself versus Horn. He’ll have his hands full against the hard-hitting Matthysse, who is well past his prime as well.
Pacquiao will also be without long-time trainer Freddie Roach for the Matthysse bout. Roach had been with Pacquiao for the past 34 bouts, dating back to 2001. According to Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz, Pacquiaos long-time friend Buboy Fernandez will handle corner duties on July 14.
If Pacquiao is victorious, he’s hoping to land a bout with world junior lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko, perhaps at a catchweight. Lomachenko is moving up to lightweight to challenge titlist Jorge Linares on May 12th. A Pacquiao-Lomachenko bout could take place later this year if both are victorious.