The spring continues to stabilize the boxing landscape with well implemented core fights keeping both the sport hot and fans attentive. I can’t help but have fun handicapping a bout where the participants have monikers of the “Machine” Vs the “Tranzformer”.
Event: May 6, T Mobile Arena, Paradise Arena Nevada. 10 Round welterweight bout; undercard to Alvarez Vs Chavez, JR.
Prelude to war:
As witnessed in recent title fights like Garcia Vs Thurman, and Jacobs Vs Golovkin fans don’t necessarily get the fireworks promised on paper and in prefight press conferences. Often all the bold fight talk and street trashing bravado is lost in translation once the opening bell rings. This gives rise to the contenders who literally shed blood, sweat and tears to reach the pantheon of legends seeking praise in the quest of titles and utopian respect. Here we have two contestants with slightly different agendas but one single goal; win!
Lucas Matthysee has been a fan favorite and staple of boxing hierarchy for a decade already. While he earned and fought for various “sub” titles of Silver, Interim, Inter-Continental, NABO, and Latino belts but having never actually scored acquisition of one of the true Alphabet titles. Along the way he picked up some keys wins that brought him into prominence and lost a few but winning more fans with his gusty all out performances.
His opposition after an 18 month hiatus is a useful barometer in the guise of Emmanuel Taylor. Make no mistake, this kid is here to claim a door prize and finally add a marquee name to his ledger and not just be a stepping stone ushering Lucas back into the spot light in what some believed was a retirement.
Matthysee Vs Taylor
Height: 5’ 6 ½” 5’ 7 ½”
Reach: 69” 65”
Stance: Orthodox Orthodox
Nationality: Argentinian American
Record: 37-4-1, 34 KO’s 20-4, 14 KO’s
Age: 34 26
Moniker: The Machine Tranzformer
Lucas fought nobly and had his moments against Viktor Postal for vacant WBC light welterweight title back in October 2015. Here was his big chance to win a legit world renowned belt but he often fell out of pocket due to Postol’s 5” height and 5 “ reach advantages. In the final seconds of round 10 Lucas fell short with a measuring jab and was countered with a straight right to the left eye. He was knocked off his feet and abruptly took a knee. The stunned audience watched with mouths agape as the warrior uncharacteristically made no effort to rise and beat the count. He remained there until assisted by corner who came to check on him. Conflicting stories were bandied about to press as to the severity of injury. Post-fight Matthyse told HBO analyst Max Kellerman that the eye wasn’t a factor as much as it just not being his night. Behind the scenes reporters were trying to get a handle on if it was a career ending orbital wound. Aside from the stoppage Lucas didn’t sustain a beating and did not appear worse for wear.
Taylor just came off two wins of spoon fed comeback bouts against Carlos Aquilera and Wilfredo Acuna whose records were 10-17, and 16-18 respectfully stopping both opponents. This came on the heels of back to back unanimous decision losses to Antonio Orozco and Adrian Broner.
Styles: Matthyse is a brilliant in fighter with devastating left hook and straight right hand. He’s nimble but flat footed with terrific balance. He’s a master inside the pocket.
Taylor is also flat footed but is balance is suspect. If you follow my columns you’ll note I rank every boxer’s balance. If it’s not excellent, then every aspect of your game will suffer because of it. (ie: Deontay Wilder) Emmanuel has a tight defense and does his best work outside the gates to pocket where he looks to potshot rather than smother.
Some back ground history on Matthysse shows even if he never gets to hall of fame he’ll be known as the gate keeper of his era that others must first conquer to gain entry. Some of his victories came over notable names of Ruslan Provodnikov, Lamont Peterson, Humberto Soto, John Molina, JR., Demarcus Corley and Vivian Harris while dropping split decisions to Devon Alexander and Zab Judah. (This reporter thought Lucas deserved the nod) and a UD loss to Danny Garcia. The stoppage loss to Postal appears now be as voluntary and it was inflicted.
Handicapping this bout one has to ponder did the 19 month layoff serve to give the Machine a well-deserved rest or will the year and a half layoff provide rust, timing and stamina problems. The truth of the severity of eye injury has never seen the light of day.
Taylor had lost four of eight bouts just prior to his comeback streak over 3rd tier opposition. Besides the losses to Broner and Orozco he lost decisions to Prenice Brewer and Chris Algieri.
As of this writing Vegas has yet to open a line on this bout. My prediction based on quality of opposition is placing Matthyse as favorite at -300 to +240 Taylor
What to look for:
Lucas will get right back to work and look to shed any hibernation skin like a Rattlesnake in April. He’ll look engage a war inside the pocket in ring center and test Taylor from opening bell. A tentative start from the Argentinean will not be a good sign for his fans. Emmanuel must try to keep Lucas off him at jabs length as much as possible and look to counter the onslaught with power punches that aren’t telegraphed. Neither fighter does a lot of clinching so expect fireworks.
Both men will be looking to re-establish themselves and look to use this bout as a spring board for title contention most likely trying to get on WBC/WBA champion Keith Thurman’s radar. At 34 years of age and a long layoff welterweight has finally set in on Matthyse. Problem is he may just be a tad short, and war weary to take out the division’s elite. If he is a long shot than Taylor hasn’t got a prayer. It will be a rough and tumble affair and Lucas has the perfect comeback fighter in front of him. Durable, but lack of fire power, reach and speed to stop his tormentor from making a successful return to action. As long as Lucas does not run out of steam he should hurt and outclass Emmanuel every round.
Since it’s a 10 round affair and not 12, Lucas Matthyse by S.O. S. (scores or stoppage) the extra weight on Taylor just might give him the durability to see final round. Unlike his fight with Broner, Lucas will never let up and pose.
Week in Review:
Amir Kahn once again refraining from any action due to religious commitment of Ramadan. He will be unable to fight until after June 24 and working on 13 months rust since being knocked cold by a well-timed Canelo Alvarez right hand bomb. He has been in training and feels his rebuilt hand has survived surgery and is feeling good. Until he actually fights and cracks heads with leather he just won’t know for sure. A much talked about showdown with WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao is still a possibility for the fall.
The traveling press conferences promoting the much anticipated rematch of light heavyweights Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev have turned surly and nasty to say the least. Ward has turned off many fans with an arrogance like he’s doing the world and Kovalev a favor. The Russian rightfully believes he was bum rushed on scorecards in hometown decision and is highly annoyed that Andre refuses to give him any respect. Sergey wants his belts back and now wants to punish Ward and promises to fight each round in quest of the knockout revenge.
Gennady Golovkin appears to have put WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders on back burner while still negotiating with Golden Boy Promotions for September super match against Canelo Alvarez. Sources have claimed that promoter Oscar De La Hoya intends to actually offer less to Golovkin than advertised putting this bout in jeopardy once again of dying on the vine. His greed and lack of belief that his fighter is ready for the champions 19 title defense is getting as boring as his cherry picks. Abel Sanchez the manager and trainer of Golovkin insists his protégé’s next few fights are already laid out.
Stay tuned…Contact the Feature Writers