Knockout artist Lucas Matthysse rebounded from a dreadful performance by knocking Tewa Kiram down twice in the eighth round before referee Raul Caiz Jr. waved off the fight at 1:21 of the round, giving the 35-year-old Argentine the vacant WBA world welterweight title, his first at 147 pounds.

A partisan Matthysse crowd at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, Calif., was booing the lack of action before Matthysse, who came in as a 5-1 favorite, decided to generate his vaunted power to put Kiram, who is from Thailand and fighting for the first time in the United States, down. The knockout was the 36th of Matthysse’s brilliant career, improving his record to 39-4. He came in having fought just once in the last 27 months.

Ironically, for the heavy-handed Matthysse, both knockdowns came off apparent left jabs.

The loss was the first of Kiram’s professional career, dropping his record to 38-1 (28 KOs). He came in ranked No. 1 at 147 pounds by the World Boxing Association.

Matthysse landed 59 of 246 punches overall while Kiram connected on 55 of 277. Matthysse landed 39 power punches to 15 for Kiram, who spent much of the evening throwing his left jab.

His game plan, Matthysse told HBO’s Max Kellerman, “was to shorten the distance and look for the body, but I noticed his punches weren’t hurting me so I started pressuring more,” he said. “He felt my power, that my hands were pretty heavy.”

Lucas Matthysse
Lucas Matthysse
Matthysse had trouble getting his power punches off in the first half of the fight, as the naturally bigger Kiram kept his distance behind his left jab, throwing, then stepping back.

“I just couldn’t catch him, he was moving pretty well, but I was finally able to connect,” Matthysse said.

Asked who he wanted next, Matthysse said, “I’m looking at Manny Pacquiao or Danny Garcia. Looking at the best.”

In the co-main event, Jorge Linares of Venezuela retained his WBA and Ring Magazine lightweight titles with a workman-like unanimous decision over Filipino southpaw Mercito Gesta.

Linares (44-3, 27 KOs), easily won on all three scorecards, 118-110 twice and 117-111. He outworked Gesta (31-2-2, 17 KOs), landing 171 of 585 punches overall, to Gesta’s 120 of 515. Linares also landed 149 power punches to 100 for Gesta.

Linares was more accurate with his punches, and while Gesta, coached by seven-time trainer of the year Freddie Roach, looked equally as quick as Linares, he did not seem to have enough power behind those punches to do any damage to Linares, who has now won 12 fights in a row.

Source: Bob Velin|| USA Today