KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Manny Pacquiao believes he has “a couple more fights” left in him before he retires, starting with his first contest for more than a year when he faces Argentine WBA welterweight world champion Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur this July.
“Definitely this is not my last fight,” the 39-year-old Filipino said at a news conference in the Malaysian capital on Friday to promote the fight.
“I want my last fight to be in the Philippines, but I still have a couple more fights till I retire,” said the former eight-division world champion and serving senator in his homeland.
Pacquiao, who returns to action for the first time since losing on points to Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane last July, said he expected the July 15 bout at the Axiata Arena to be “a real boxing fight”.
“Matthysse’s style is very aggressive. He’ll want to come inside and fight toe-to-toe. You won’t see running or dancing in the ring,” said Pacquiao, who has a 59-7-2 record with four of those losses coming in his last nine fights.
Matthysse (39-4), who will be making his first title defense, said he expected a “big fight” but believed he had what it took to keep his WBA welterweight crown.
“I’m a pretty big puncher with both hands,” said the 35-year-old Matthysse, who beat Thailand’s Tewa Kiram with an eighth round knockout to claim the vacant title in January.
“But more importantly my conditioning… gives me confidence to win this fight,” he said.
(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by John O’Brien)