In Defense of Lucas Matthysse

By Robert Ecksel on July 20, 2018
In Defense of Lucas Matthysse
"You win some and you lose some... Now I have to rest." (Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions)

Losing to Pacquiao is no crime, as 59 of his victims can attest. The crime is the contempt some have for yesterday’s heroes…

“If there’s a good loser in boxing, I’d love to fight him every week.”—Gene Fullmer

In his first defense of the WBA “regular” welterweight title last week, Lucas Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs), the heavy-handed battler from Trelew, Chubut, Argentina, was stopped by a resurgent Manny Pacquiao in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Praise for Pacquiao has been vociferous and deservedly so. By contrast Matthysse, who was tailor-made for the Pac Man, was dragged over the coals, not just for his limitations as a fighter, not just because he lost a big fight to a world-class fighter, but because, according to some, he quit in the midst of a vicious beating.

The fight was over long before he declined to climb off the canvas a third time. But he was a beaten man by the time the seventh round rolled around and everyone knew it at the time. But a quitter is a quitter and the cult of masculinity disavows quitters, even though those giving him the hardest time have never climbed through the ropes nor considered questioning the counterfactual narratives ballooning in their skulls.

Matthysse returned to Argentina bruised and battered but with his pride intact, which made the criticism he received, even from some of his countrymen, all the more disturbing.

“They say I [quit] and a lot of bullshit, nonsense,” said Matthysse according to BoxingScene. “I know everything I did, and I know what kind of effort I made. But things did not work out.”

Matthysse hopes to be understood, but if he wants compassion he needs to find another sport.

“[The critics] are going to kill me,” he said. “That’s how we Argentines are. You have to put up with everything people say, but I’m very proud of where I came from and I got the most out of what an Argentine boxer can aspire to achieve.”

Matthysse has had a great career. He’s been fighting pro for 14 years and came into the Pacquiao fight with only four losses, two of which were by split decision, and only one which came by knockout. Losing to Pacquiao is no crime, as 59 of his victims can attest. The crime is the contempt some have for yesterday’s heroes.

“You win some and you lose some,” Matthysse added. “They give you criticism, but we Argentines are like that, what are you going to do? Right now I have to rest. I was away from home for a long time. I want to be with my daughter and my family, who are the ones who always welcome me with a hug.”

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  1. Your Name 09:22pm, 07/22/2018

    Hmm. Whiners = Cotto, JMM, not so sure about Duran, Hagler, and many others.

  2. thrashem 06:10am, 07/22/2018

    When he lost to Hearns, he was quoted “He hit me so hard, he knocked all the Whisky out of me!” That is a testament of Hearns power. Wrong style for Duran. All the great accept loss.

    When was the last time the USA won a war. Pretty embarrassing with all that power. I guess they have plenty of excuses!

  3. Chico Salmon 04:21pm, 07/21/2018

    haha. IF that was the only time Duran came up with the I ate and drank like a pig and I had to lose a gazillion pounds in 2 weeks, blah, blah, that would be one thing. BUT every single time this guy lost, it was always some lame excuse. Hearns nearly decapitates him and dominates every second of the fight while it lasts, and STILL, Duran came up with the same bulldookie, I had to lose too much weight too fast, I trained only to lose weight, I wasn’t in shape, blah, blah, blah..

  4. thrashem 04:03pm, 07/21/2018

    I have sat down with other boxing fans, gone over it, many times, scored punches which landed, cancelled ones which meant nothing and we are all convinced Leonard lost. Why didn’t Leonard fight him again and prove it?

    Here is a test for you. Go starve yourself for 2 months, lose 50 pounds and in one day Mac down 15 cheese burgers, a couple flagons of orange juice and consume and go run 10 ten kilometers while someone is hitting you in the guts soldier boy! No complaining, now.

  5. Chico Salmon 03:32pm, 07/21/2018

    Didn’t have to watch the Hagler-Leonard fight but once to know that Leonard won that fight going away, ( I have watched it twice, however.)  Not even close. How anyone can think Hagler won that fight is beyond me. And I am a Hagler fan and I can’t stand Leonard, but my gawd, you would have to be blind to think Hagler won that fight. smdh. ONLY a fanboy would believe the Duran “tummy ache” story or that Hagler won the Leonard bout.

  6. Your Name 02:59pm, 07/21/2018

    In order for Duran to gain strength for fight guzzled flagons of consume and juice, ate steaks… Due to the starvation diet he was on, it was not a good idea to rapidly eat. That would definitely plug the hoop.
    In order to promote the fight purses were reversed. Duran $8 million and Leonard $2 mil. Most people I talk to say they would get into a ring with Mike Tyson and get the shit kicked out of them for a million bucks, would you?
    I followed Duran all though his career. He came out of the barrios of Panama. Fought for food to survive. Education came from the streets. Ray Arcel created a weapon. He would tell Duran while training for Dejesus that Esteban said “His mother fucks pigs” He knew his would get his juices flowing. What ever it takes to win!
    Leonard Hagler fight. Hagler won, even fighting a stupid fight. Watched it many times. Hagler won!  When Leonard would throw a flurry and land on elbows. 1 or 2 may out of ten may have been considered a punch. In the contract, 2 of the judges were to be from Europe. That favour Leonard style. That is who gave Leonard the nod.
    When Hagler stuck his his head out and said hit this. What the fuck is he thinking. That is another ten points against him. Adding up the points in the end, Hagler won. Pity-pat punches are not points and Leonard gets too much credit for some of his showman ship, which scores no points with me.

  7. Chico Salmon 02:28pm, 07/21/2018

    I might add also that Leonard boxed Hagler’s bald head silly and that Hagler, like Duran, cried like a little baby. I am not a fan of Leonard, but I am a fan of Hagler and Duran, but both of these warriors are only lying to themselves when it comes to their losses against Leonard. Both of them know damn well, that Leonard was the better man in November of 1980 and April of 1987. I remember watching the Hagler-Leonard fight on closed circuit tv on a military base. Must have been about 100 people watching and EVERYONE WAS SAID Hagler lost. My friend and I were both rooting for Hagler, and during the bout my friend remarked, “Hagler is getting his ass beat.”  haha. I had to agree with him.

  8. Chico Salmon 02:22pm, 07/21/2018

    thrashem… Oh man, come on. Duran is one of my favorite fighters of all time but he was also a notorious crybaby and sore loser. He always had an excuse for every single time he lost. “Running away?” hahaha. Sure, anything you say. Leonard was boxing beautifully and making Duran look like a fool, that is why Duran quit. Face it, Duran was the typical bully, and he QUIT that night because he was shamed, not because of “stomach cramps.” IF Duran’s story is true, it is his own fault for not being professional enough to take of himself between fights instead of eating and drinking like a pig. He had the same excuse for Hearns, that he was out of shape and had to lose too much weight too fast. For Benitez, he said he was overtrained, blah, blah, blah… Duran was an all time great fighter and an all time great CRYBABY.

  9. thrashem 02:00pm, 07/21/2018

    The fight took place at 11:30 AM to be televised for our viewing time 11:00 PM. If you are not use to fighting in the morning, if could be equivalent to jet lag or fighters timing being a wee bit off. That is all it takes fighting a guy like Pacman. Street fighters don’t care what time of day.

    Duran came to fight and had to lose 50 pounds in 2 months. Contract was to have weigh-in night before fight. No way Duran could get his strength back in time. The ring was 24 foot square, not 16 ft olympic size like 1st fight. Leonard wanted nothing to do with him after the first fight.  Until he found out the news of this weight problem. Duran was there to get knocked out if need be, but chickenshit Leonard ran, showboated, teased and taunted the bear, till Duran said “Fuck you, No Mas!” Leonard jumped in and hit Duran when his back was turned and walking away. Duran never even attempted to protect himself from back stabbing Leonard. I am a Duran fan and did not like the outcome. Don King hid the fact of the weight issue, so ticket sales would not be lost. From signing to fight date was 2 months, not a year like todays buttercups. How would you feel!
    The sad thing about these boxing heroes from 3rd world countries, countrymen bet their homes and livelihoods on their man winning. They are invincible to them. When they lose, they are garbage! Not to me or you as fight fans, because we weren’t that stupid.
    Pacman and Matthysse are both great fighters. No shame winning or losing, both had been there before.

  10. Kid Blast 05:21pm, 07/20/2018

    I understand the hero thing and it’s always irked me a bit, but I can say without hesitation that Vernon Forrest was a hero, not for what he did in the ring, but what he did outside of it. He was a MAN.

    Heroes must make sacrifices and help others. They must give and not take. There are few in boxing but VF was mine.

  11. Chico Salmon 08:04am, 07/20/2018

    It is pretty ridiculous how serious people take sports. I love a variety of sports, not just boxing, but I can put things in perspective. “My team” losing the World Series or Super Bowl is disappointing but not a life changer. IMO there is nothing more ridiculous than some middle aged man walking around with a jersey with a ballplayer’s name on the back. A lot of these athletes are not “heroes” in any shape or form, most are quite the opposite in real life. Manny seems to be a class act, but who the hell knows how he really is when he is not in front of the cameras. Joe Louis snorting coke, Joe Frazier drinking like a fish, Marciano carousing with mob bosses, etc. These guys were just guys who learned how to box or could punch, nothing more, and nothing less, certainly not a “hero” among them.

  12. Jenny Alco 08:14pm, 07/19/2018

    I have admired Matthysse for being simple and a soft spoken person.  His previous fights have been far more exciting than most of the boxers in his division.  For people to criticize Matthysse for losing and accuse of quitting is ridiculous.  The man deserves respect considering no one has any idea how to be hurt in a fight like that.  Boxing is a risky sport and some boxers would just try to please his countrymen at the expense of their life.

  13. chris 04:02pm, 07/19/2018

    I wish to know if Lucas is in good condition for the fight.  Is Manny really that good or is there something bothering Lucas?

  14. Chico Salmon 07:34am, 07/19/2018

    MOST people are fickle and a good many haters out there love to see people fail. Of course those same people usually aren’t ever willing to put themselves out there or take a stand for anything.  One only has to think at how the Panamanian people turned on Roberto Duran after Duran quit in New Orleans in the rematch with Leonard. Unlike Matthysse, Duran did quit, but still the legendary fighter had given Panamanians many thrills and something to be proud of over the years. One slip, one speck of human frailty and all that was forgotten and they turned on Duran like a pack of half starved wolves. But then those same people were first in line to embrace Duran after his title win against Davey Moore.

  15. Kid Blast 07:02am, 07/19/2018


  16. Robert Ecksel 06:48am, 07/19/2018

    Thanks, Kid. I appreciate that.

  17. Kid Blast 06:42am, 07/19/2018

    Very good article

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