For almost his entire boxing career, Manny Pacquiao has proven time and again that the word distraction is not in his vocabulary.
Since becoming a world champion at age 19, Pacquiao has juggled countless activities while being an elite boxer.
Despite exerting great effort trying to become an actor, lawmaker, preacher, and billiards, basketball and chess player all at the same time, Pacquiao still became a multi-division champion.
But Golden Boy Promotions (GBP) president Eric Gomez thinks Pacquiao’s penchant for multi-tasking might be put to a real test in preparing for his upcoming fight, a 12-round championship match opposite Lucas Matthysse of Argentina.
Gomez said the 39-year-old Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 knockouts) may soon find out being a promoter of his own fight is a totally different responsibility that, if not managed properly, may lead to a disastrous ending.
“He might be used to it but this is the first time that he’s doing his own promotion. There will be some struggles. It takes a lot to do promotions. From the television, to the venue, selling of tickets, the marketing, Manny personally looked over all of these while training so it might have been some distraction, we hope. But we’ll see,” Gomez said.
He knows what he’s talking about promotion-wise as he’s been part of GBP since its inception in 2002, and Gomez knows well to remain cautious when it comes to analyzing Pacquiao’s abilities.
“He may not be in his prime anymore but Manny is still a very good fighter, very dangerous fighter. He can still beat many of the top fighters. Lucas just cannot depend on his power to win this fight. He’s going to have to box a little bit. Use some angles to throw him off. It’s going to take everything to beat Manny. You just can’t beat Manny with power,” Gomez said.
While Gomez said beating a prime Pacquiao will not be easy for the 35-year-old Matthysse (39-4, 35 KOs), the amiable GBP executive feels the Filipino icon’s performance during his last bout, a contentious 12-round defeat to Australian Jeff Horn last year, may give Matthysse a glimmer of hope.
“You don’t know what kind of Manny that we’re going to see. If the Manny that fought Brandon Rios or Jessie Vargas, it’s going to be a very tough fight for Matthysse. But if it’s the Manny that fought Jeff Horn, I think Matthysse’s going to have a really good chance of winning,” said Gomez.
Gomez said it will help Matthysse’s cause that focus will really be on Pacquiao as people will be curiously talking about his ability to compete at an elite level now that he is pushing 40.
“Does Manny still have the heart? The desire to be champion again? I think that’s the real question. Manny has lived the highest height in boxing. What else is Manny fighting for? Because for Lucas, this is everything,” added Gomez.
Matthysse will be staking his WBA world welterweight crown against Pacquiao in a 12-round battle scheduled this Sunday at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.
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