Manny Pacquiao scored his first knockout win in nine years by stopping Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round on Sunday to win the regular WBA welterweight title.

Manny Pacquiao TKO Matthysse
Manny Pacquiao throws a punch at Lucas Matthysse during their WBA welterweight title fight on July 15, 2018. (Image: Reuters/Lai Seng Sin)

The 39-year-old Pacquiao was impressive in his first fight since his controversial loss by decision to Jeff Horn last July, which cost Pacquiao his WBO welterweight belt.

Pacquiao Dominates Matthysse from Opening Bell

Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) had failed to score a knockout in 13 fights dating back to his 12th-round KO of Miguel Cotto in November 2009. Since then, the Filipino legend had gone a relatively pedestrian 9-4.

Still, he came into the fight against Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs) as a fairly strong favorite, with most sportsbooks listing Pacquiao in the neighborhood of -200 to win the fight. From the opening bell, Pacquiao showed why he was favored to win, showing superior speed that allowed him to fire off combinations at will against his opponent.

The first knockdown of the night came in the third round, and though Matthysse didnt appear to be hurt after rising back to his feet, Pacquiao continued to dominate the action. He scored a second knockdown in the fifth, as Matthysse was forced to take a knee just before the bell rang to end the round.

Finally, Pacquiao scored his third knockdown of the fight on a left uppercut late in the seventh round. While referee Kenny Bayless began to count, he waved off the fight almost immediately, declaring Pacquiao the winner by knockout.

Pacquiao claimed the regular WBA title, while Keith Thurman remains the Super Champion by the organization, a title given to those who hold the championships of multiple major boxing organizing bodies.

Pacquiao Plans to Keep Fighting

After the fight, Pacquiao credited the decisive win to his teams approach in training.

We were not pushing hard like we did when we were very young, Pacquiao said. We controlled ourselves in the training, but its heavy training. Thanks to all of my team for working hard in this fight.

Pacquiaos preparation was certain to be different before this fight, as he had recently stopped working with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. However, Pacquiao did clarify after this fight that he could work with Roach again in the future.

And according to Pacquiao, there will be a future for him in the ring. The Filipino Senator seems determined to continue boxing, saying that he believe he still had two or three fights left in the tank.

Boxing is my passion and I would be lonely if I quit boxing, he told reporters after the bout.

That leaves open the question of who the eight-division world champion could potentially fight next. Pacquiao seemed open to the possibility of a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, whom he lost to by unanimous decision three years ago. Before that could happen, however, Mayweather would have to come back to boxing, as he has recently suggested he might want to give MMA a try.

If he decides to go back to boxing then that is the time we are going to call the shots, Pacquiao told reporters. If he wants to come back in boxing lets do a second one.

Another possibility is a battle with lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs), who would likely fight Pacquiao at a catchweight. The fight could be a major payday for Pacquiao while giving Lomachenko considered one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world the opportunity to grow into a major star.

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