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Moment of truth: Pacquiao battles Matthysse for WBA title

By Nick Giongco

KUALA LUMPUR – Manny Pacquiao won’t hesitate to turn the lights out of Lucas Matthysse the moment he sees even the slightest opening in his bid to capture the Argentine slugger’s World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight crown today at the Axiata Arena.

Pacquiao (39-6-2 with 38 KOs), looking cool, calm and collected after tipping the scales during the official weighin Saturday at 146 lbs, told reporters around him after nourishing himself that he will not hesitate to administer the coup d grace.

Matthysse, making the first defense of the WBA 147-lb title he had won last January in Los Angeles, came in at 146. 7 lbs.

Guided by a solid fightplan that calls for him to utilize his edge in speed and smarts, the strategy is for Pacquiao to bedazzle Matthysse and throw him off “by moving side to side and throwing lots of punches.”

Aware that he has to take a chapter from his conquests of Oscar De LaHoya, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton to win, Pacquiao said that he doesn’t intend to be dragged into deep waters.

“If given a chance, (I will) finish the fight early,” said the 39-year-old eight-division champion.

Doing just that seems not as far-fetched as his critics say.

“What we learned in this training camp is how to hold back and strategize differently because we are not getting any younger.”
Pacquiao admits that father time is catching up on him and holding him back during the two-month training camp made him a different fighter.
“When you push. You cannot recover right away so we had to slow down.

Then after slowing down, we pushed again to the limit and slow down once more.”

Because of the controlled aggression, Pacquiao believes that he will bring his best when the bell rings, not leaving everything in training and having none to show when it matters.

“Now I feel hungry (to fight and win). (Besides) I didn’t fight for one year,” said Pacquiao, referring to his disputable decision loss to Jeff Horn in Brisbane a little more than a year ago.

Matthysse, the slight underdog, likewise expressed his readiness to get the job done.

“I feel very good and ready to go,” said the 35-year-old Matthysse, who camped out in Indio, California.