Manny Pacquiao and his camp are set to pick the next opponent of the Filipino boxing icon. Pacquiao is reportedly choosing between Mike Alvarado and Lucas Matthysse for his comeback fight.
According to Lance Pumigre of Los Angeles Times, the return bout of Pacquiao could be made official “as soon as this week” to give fighters enough time to prepare for the fight. The bout will be staged at Madison Square Garden on April 14, which will be Pacquiao’s debut in New York.
As for the opponent, Pumigre revealed that Alvarado will likely get a shot at the former pound-for-pound king. The 37-year-old earned himself another major fight after scoring two impressive wins last year. He stopped Matthew Strode in two rounds in May last year, which was followed by a fourth-round knockout victory over Sidney Siqueira.
While Alvarado won in his last four fights, Pumigre said that his “best days are beyond him” at this point of his career. However, picking the Colorado native makes sense if Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum wants to improve Pacquiao’s stock again because it will give him a better chance to score his first knockout since 2009.
On the other hand, facing Matthysse will likely produce a more exciting fight. Trainer Freddie Roach told BoxingScene that he loves the proposed showdown between Pacquiao and the Argentine star. He said that while the two fighters are already past their respective primes, both of them are still capable of giving fans an action-packed bout.
“I think it’s a great fight,” Roach said of the proposed Pacquiao-Matthysse fight. “Two guys who are a little bit older, and not as big of punchers as they once were, but it’s a very good action-packed fight.”
Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez also expressed willingness to negotiate with Arum. He told BoxingScene that April 14 might be too early for Matthysse, but they “can get a deal done” if Pacquiao’s camp will put a realistic offer on the table.
Matthysse scored an eighth-round knockout win over Tewa Kiran in January to claim the vacant World Boxing Association world welterweight title. The 35-year-old champion holds a 39-4 record with 36 knockout victories.
On the other hand, Pacquiao has not fought since absorbing a controversial unanimous decision loss to Jeff Horn in July last year. The 39-year-old boxing icon, who held world titles in eight different divisions, has a 59-7-2 record with 38 knockout wins.