ESPN Fights July 2018

Photo by Reuters

ESPN Fight Results: Pacman, Prograis and More


By Staff

In a battle for the WBA welterweight title it was Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao who emerged the more ready for prime time in taking the title from Argentina’s Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse by knockout on Saturday.

No doubt who was the better man.

Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) floored the champion Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs) three times in his dominating performance on Saturday at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and in front of political dignitaries and fans alike. Filipinos and Pacman fans rejoiced.

A slower but not slow Pacquiao proved too much for the stationary Matthysse who was rattled and battered from the first round on. Left uppercuts were the most potent weapons against the Argentine fighter who was floored in the third, fifth and seventh rounds. It was also Pacquiao’s first knockout win since 2009 against Miguel Cotto.

“I was surprised because Matthysse is a very tough opponent and I knocked him down,” said Pacquiao. “So that’s a bonus from being focused and patient in the fight and working hard in training camp. We [my team] did a good job in training. We controlled ourselves during training. It was a heavy training. Thanks to all my team for working hard for this fight.”

Matthysse did have his moments especially with the body shots. Twice they hurt Pacquiao who turned in pain in one instance though a replay showed it was near the belt. Referee Kenny Bayless is infamous for calling body shots low and he proved it again in this fight by doing it twice. In the final round a body shot hurt Pacquiao again and again the referee allowed the winner time, but he rallied to score the final knockdown that ended the fight at 2:43 of the seventh round.

“He’s a great fighter. He’s a great champion. You win some, and you lose some,” said Matthysse who was making the first defense of the title he won this past February. “Today was my turn to lose, but I lost to a great fighter and a great legend in Manny Pacquiao.”

The new champion wants another marquee fight and that could mean Terence Crawford who defeated the man who took the WBO title away last year.

More than a few experts feel the fight would have to take place outside of the country due to problems Pacquiao is alleged to have with US authorities, namely the IRS. But this is unsubstantiated.

“That’s another story and another discussion. Right now I’m happy to go back to my country in the Philippines and to celebrate my victory and of course with my fellow countrymen, doing my job as a public servant. We’re planning for that [returning this year]. But we haven’t decided yet. Right now my focus is to go back to my country and relax,” said Pacquiao.

The championship fight was shown on ESPN+ and promoted by Manny Pacquiao Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions.

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

New Orleans

In another ESPN televised card Regis Prograis (22-0, 19 KOs) used a steady body attack to win by stoppage against tough Argentine challenger Juan Jose Velasco (20-1, 11 KOs) and retain a version of the WBC super lightweight title on Saturday.

Prograis, a native of New Orleans, was fighting for the first time ever in his hometown though he had fought in his home state before. A large crowd of supporters greeted the new champion.

Velasco proved to be a very sturdy and cunning fighter. He was able to withstand numerous head shots but the blows to the abdomen and liver proved too much for the boxer from Buenos Aires. Prograis floored Velasco in the fifth, seventh and eighth rounds. The end came at 1:59 of the eighth round and gave Prograis the win by knockout.

"I couldn't lose here in New Orleans," Prograis said. "I told my father, if I lost, I couldn't come back. I had to go out there and fight. I knew I had a hard fight. There was a lot of excitement, but I had to hide that excitement. I had a job to do."

Prograis said he will be participating in the World Boxing Super Series.

In the co-main event Teofimo Lopez (10-0, 8 KOs) dominated Brazil’s William Silva (25-2, 14 KOs) to win by knockout at 15 seconds into the sixth round of their lightweight clash.

Silva, 31, had never been floored let alone knockout out. But against the heavy-handed speed of Lopez the Brazilian hit the canvas three times before the stoppage. The lightweight contender proved he’s ready for a world title shot in winning the WBC Continental Americas title.

"My statement was I am not here to play games. Everything I say, I do. I talk the talk and I walk the walk," said Lopez, 20, who was raised in Brooklyn. "The ring celebration, I was talking to my father, and we said, 'Let's do celebrations like in football. Terrell Owens, he did the popcorn and things like that. Those are the things I want to bring to the boxing world, but I can't bring popcorn out of the stands. It was a home run. Now it's time to collect. It's the beginning of 'The Takeover.”