It was a return to a younger version of himself on Saturday night, as Pacquiao rolled back the years with punches reminiscent of a decade ago to stop Lucas Matthysse in round 7 of a scheduled 12. The knockout result is a first since his 2009 war with Miguel Cotto, and in doing so added another belt to his collection, the WBA "regular" World Welterweight strap.
"From the beginning of the first round I had it in the mind that I could control the fight. I said be patient, just focus on hard punches and counterpunching" - Pacquiao.
Manny dominated the fight - shown live on BoxNation - dropping the Argentinian in rounds 3, 5 and 7 before it reached it's conclusion at 2 minutes 43 of the seventh. Already a legend of the sport, Pacquiao quietened critics who'd be calling for retirement since his 2017 controversial loss to Jeff Horn, losing the WBO World Welterweight title in the process.
The impressive display notched up Manny's 60th win on a record stretching back to 1995, in a fight where it was Matthysse who was expected to showcase the superior fire power. A change in team could hold some clues, with long-term trainer Freddie Roach replaced with Buboy Fernandez.
"I'm surprised I knocked him down so early. It's been a long time since I've done that. I came out smoking hot" - Pacquiao.
However, Matthysse didn't make it a difficult evening in Malaysia. Looking stiff and slow, he posed little threat, and his 35 years of age looked to have taken considerably more toll than the additional 4 years on his opponent. The speed and power he faced was all too much, earning him the characterisation of "punchbag" by American commentators.
"It’s most difficult to be fighting Manny Pacquiao. He’s a great fighter. I lost to a great legend" - Matthysse.
So what's next for 39 year old Pacman? Names immediately thrown around included Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko, Amir Khan, and even Floyd Mayweather. With a destructive win over Jeff Horn and with bigger names on the horizon, Terence Crawford may like the chance at adding a huge name to his CV. And on the other possible superfight with Lomachenko, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times Pacquiao said, "I’ve watched a couple of his fights. He’s fast. I like his style. Fighting him will be good and exciting"