I had the opportunity to ask a question to Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao, 39, in person when his fight against Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse, 35, was officially announced. I asked the Filipino boxing legend and incumbent senator in the Philippines if he would invite President Rodrigo Duterte to watch the bout live.
Pacquiao said he would. Days before the fight, it was confirmed that the president of the Philippines will watch the bout live in Malaysia.
Titled “Fight of Champions,” the bout between Pacquiao and Matthysse will take place at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 15, 2018. The Filipino boxer will challenge the Argentine champ for the World Boxing Association (Regular) welterweight championship.
Fighting out of General Santos, Philippines, Pacquiao is coming out of a loss to Jeff Horn, 30, of Brisbane, Australia. On July 2, 2017, the fighting senator lost to the Australian boxer at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane for the World Boxing Organization welterweight title.
On the other hand, Matthysse has been the reigning World Boxing Association (Regular) Welterweight Champion since January 27, 2018 when he knocked out Tewa Kiram, 26, of Buriram, Thailand at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The Argentine boxer holds a professional boxing record of 39 wins, 4 losses and 1 contest.
While Matthysse has been competing professionally since 2004, Pacquiao’s professional boxing career started in 1995.
Currently, Pacquiao has 59 wins, 7 losses and 2 draws. “Fight of Champions” marks his 69th bout as a professional boxer. The Filipino boxing legend and swimmer Michael Phelps are the only two octuple champions in history.
Both from the southern part of the Philippines, Mindanao, Pacquiao and Duterte are friends. Aside from watching “Fight of Champions,” the president of the Philippines is also planning to visit Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Aside from Pacquiao, Duterte will witness two other Filipino boxers compete live at “Fight of Champions.” On the undercard are Jayar “Hitman” Inson, 26, of Davao City and Jhack “El Capitan” Tepora, 25, of Cebu City.
Inson will battle it out with Terry Tzouramanis of Australia in the welterweight division. Tepora will face Edivaldo Ortega of Mexico in the featherweight division.
Also expected to be at the Axiata Arena for “Fight of Champions” are his wife Jinkee Pacquiao, 39, and his mother Dionisia Pacquiao, 69. Meanwhile, here is my brief encounter with Manny: