Former junior welterweight top contender Lucas Matthysse plans on returning to the ring on the Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. undercard. It will be the Argentine’s first fight since a crushing knockout loss to Viktor Postol in October of 2015.
Right now, the plan is to kick off a campaign at welterweight with a bout against the solid, but utterly unspectacular Pablo Cesar Cano on the May 6 card.
Matthysse-Cano is not a bad fight for what it is, but the decision to make a full-time run in the welterweight division smacks of pure money grab for the offense-minded fan favorite.
Maybe Matthysse can no longer make junior welterweight and the move up in weight is an absolute necessity. It’s more likely, though, that Team Matthysse and his promoter Golden Boy see the big money potential in selling Matthysse for scrap as a fall guy with a name and a reputation.
If Matthysse wins a couple of bouts, and even slightly resembles that beast he was once publicized to be, money offers will start pouring in. He’ll be the perfect opponent for a high-end welterweight star– someone who will be regarded as a rougher than rough challenge, but someone who has also proven himself to be vulnerable enough to not really be that much of a threat.
A Manny Pacquiao bout is a possibility. Kell Brook over in the UK could be a nice payday. If Keith Thurman beats Danny Garcia this March, Matthysse could be served up as a credible, but not all that deathly dangerous title defense. Matthysse could also be offered up to a top prospect like Errol Spence Jr. or an old pro like Timothy Bradley. All of the above would represent big money bouts for the entire team and some nice nest egg money for the fighter, himself.
Realistically, Matthysse is not going to beat any of the top names in the welterweight division. He was on wrong end of controversial decisions early on in his career against Devon Alexander and Zab Judah and he also registered a few very solid wins at 140, but decisive losses at the hands of Viktor Postol and Danny Garcia tell the true story of the fighter.
Matthysse, by nature, is a war-loving battler whose awesomeness in the ring is directly related to proper matchmaking. Against a mover, a thinker, and/or someone with the ability to execute a smart game plan, he’s just an opponent. However, he can still be sold as someone whose offensive prowess gives him a solid chance against anyone in the world on any given evening– and that appears to be the game plan for the 34-year-old’s last few years in the sport.
There are fights out there, at a proper weight and against an appropriate level of opposition, to thrill fans. A return bout with John Molina Jr. would be entertaining, as well as matches against the likes of Ricky Burns, Frankie Gomez, Antonio DeMarco, and Omar Figueroa Jr. But none of those contests are going to deliver the paydays of a Pacquiao or Brook bout and the cold, hard truth is that Matthyse has shown signs of slowing down in recent fights prior to the Postol loss. A cash-out now is the smartest move possible for a fighter with just a couple more years of real earning potential left in his career.
Of course, Matthysse and his team will reject the notion that he’s selling himself out for scrap at welterweight. Matthysse, being a stubbornly tough competitor, may even believe that he can truly make waves at 147. But the truth of the matter is that Matthysse is going to be offered up as a high-value resume-filler to the highest bidder(s). There’s nothing disgraceful in that.
Unless a fighter is a Mayweather or Pacquiao-level draw, most boxers are eventually sold for scrap. It just is what it is; it’s boxing.