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Pacquiao drops Matthysse three times for TKO in seventh

Philippine senator and boxing hero Manny Pacquiao waves

Philippine senator and boxing hero Manny Pacquiao waves to the crowd during weigh-ins in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday. Credit: AP / Yam G-Jun

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Manny Pacquiao clinched his 60th victory with a seventh-round knockout Sunday of Argentinian Lucas Matthysse, his first stoppage in nine years.

Pacquiao said he worked hard but was surprised by the swift win in the World Boxing Association welterweight title fight. Pacquiao rebounded from his disappointing loss last year to Australian Jeff Horn and his victory could extend his boxing career that had taken a backseat to his political life as a Filipino senator.

“This is part of boxing. You win some, you lose some,” Matthysse Said. He hailed Pacquiao as a “great legend” and said he will take a break after his loss.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad also attended the fight, the biggest boxing match in The country since 1975 heavyweight clash between Muhammad Ali and Australian Joe Bugner. Duterte said: “I would like to congratulate Senator Manny Pacquiao for giving us pride and bringing the Filipino nation together once more.”

Pacquiao dominatedMatthysse to claim the WBA world welterweight title.

Pacquiao dropped Matthysse three times. According to CompuBox, Pacquiao landed 95 of 344 total punches (28 percent). Lucas Matthysse was 57 of 246 (23 percent). Pacquiao (60-7-2) also connected 44 percent of his power punches (79 of 181) while Matthysse 39-5-0) only landed 36 of 131 (27 percent).

The doom and gloom that others cast on his ongoing boxing career certainly isn’t penetrating him. There were obvious reasons for alarm. He has left his longtime trainer, Freddie Roach, fought for the first time in a year after getting roughed up in a loss, and he’s now 39 years old.

Securing the financing for his bout Saturday night at Malaysia’s 16,000-seat Axiata Arena was a harrowing ordeal that wasn’t resolved until last month, ticket sales lagged and he fell from routine pay-per-view treatment in the United States to placement on the ESPN+ app.

“Everything is fine and I’m excited,” Pacquiao said before the fight.

After injuring his left shoulder doing push-ups off sand bags at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles in 2015, Pacquiao decided to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the most lucrative fight in history, and couldn’t effectively throw power punches, souring fans on the sport as Mayweather fought evasively.

Pacquiao returned to defeat Jessie Vargas for the World Boxing Organization welterweight belt in 2016, but he was manhandled by Jeff Horn in Australia last July with little referee involvement and lost his belt by a disputed decision.

Earlier this year, Pacquiao replaced Roach with a team led by former assistant trainer “Buboy” Fernandez. Pacquiao said he divided the work for Fernandez, conditioning coach Justin Fortune and new assistant trainer Nonito Donaire Sr.

“I give each of them a task, to watch my defense, my footwork, my head movement and the accuracy of the punches, and I had good sparring with four boxers,” Pacquiao said.

“I’m enjoying training. I’m happy. I still have my speed and power. I’m thankful I still have that skill. And we work hard here. The weather [was] really hot [in the Philippines] and we were running through the mountain and sparring. This camp is focusing on the power, and the accuracy of the punches is the main focus.”

Combined wire services

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