Thanks to successful careers, fighters reach a level of independence that they often form their promotional companies. Roy Jones Jr., Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. serve as examples of fighters who lent their names to promotional brands.

Manny Pacquiao now takes the significant jump to lead promoter in his next fight. Although Top Rank remains Pacquiao’s official promoter, Pacquiao arranged to promote his welterweight fight against Lucas Matthysse Saturday night in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“There are plenty opportunities for us to discover new boxing talent,” Pacquiao said during the press conference that officially announced his bout against Matthysse. “This is the reason I have decided to take matters into my own hands and have finally decided to form MP Promotions – my very own promotional company. With the help of the business partners, I believe there is so much that we can do to lift the spirits of our Asians boxers and for them to shine globally.”

Despite Pacquiao’s ambitious plans, the maiden promotional venture dealt with financial obstacles that were recently resolved but nearly canceled the fight.

For the 39-year-old Pacquiao, promoting his own show also coincides with growing doubts about his stature as a fighter. The native of the Philippines and eight-division world champion no longer is among boxing’s top fighters as he was during the late 2000s and early 2010s.

Pacquiao’s rise from flyweight champion to junior-middleweight titleholder has never been matched in the sport. But father time eventually catches up with most fighters and Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) is no exception.

Pacquiao is 5-4 in his last nine fights. Granted, two of the losses were controversial decisions against Timothy Bradley, whom he later defeated with two subsequent decision victories, and Jeff Horn, which cost Pacquiao a welterweight belt.

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao
Saturday’s bout will be Pacquiao’s first since the loss against Horn in July 2017. Pacquiao also will fight Matthysse under a new lead trainer after he dismissed Freddie Roach, ending their 15-year association. Pacquiao replaced Roach, who guided him to the heights of stardom, with longtime cornerman Restituto “Booboy” Fernandez.

“We picked Matthysse because he has the guts and is a tough opponent, a busy fighter,” Pacquiao said. “You can expect more action in the ring than the fighter I had before (Horn)

“We guarantee to the people that you will enjoy this fight because his style and my style are very similar. And we want more action in the ring, throwing a lot of punches.”

A native of Argentina, Matthysee (39-4, 36 KOs) has stopped two opponents since his move to welterweight following a knockout loss against Viktor Postol in a vacant 140-pound title fight three years ago. Matthysse’s knockout win over Tewa Kiram in January earned him a second-tier sanctioning body welterweight title he will defend against Pacquiao.

“A victory over Pacquiao will be important for me, my career and for Argentina,” Matthysse said. “It will be one of the biggest wins in the history of the country.”

Miami resident Harold Calderon defeated John David Martinez by unanimous decision in the main event of a card Friday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Events Center in Hollywood.

Calderon (17-0) won the 10-round-welterweight bout 100-90 on two judges’ scorecards and 99-91 on the third. Martinez, also a Miami resident, is now 10-1.

In other bouts: junior-welterweight Logan Yoon won a unanimous decision over Luis Flores; heavyweight Ivan Dychko knocked out Maurice Harris at 1:39 of the first round; featherweight Jessy Cruz won a unanimous decision over Raul Chirino; welterweight Livan Navarro knocked out Julio Reynoso at 2:47 of the first round; heavyweight Ulysses Diaz won a unanimous decision over Israel Echevarria; super-middleweight Irosvany Duvergel won a unanimous decision over Eli Augustama; lightweight Dustin Arnold won a unanimous over Daniel Placeres; junior-featherweight Lawrence Newton won a unanimous decision over Pedro Melo.

Source: Santos A. Perez|| Miami Herald