Forty-three years after Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Bugner via unanimous decision in their rematch to retain the WBC and WBA heavyweight titles, world championship boxing returns to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for Fight of Champions: Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse on July 15.
Pacquiao will be wearing two hats in the fight as he'll be the challenger for Matthysse's World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title and will also be the promoter of the fight after his MP Promotions tag-teamed with Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions to stage the event.
During the press conference at the Grand Ballroom of City of Dreams Manila on Wednesday, Pacquiao said his upcoming fight will prove that MP Promotions can handle international boxing events and that his boxing career is far from over.
"My time is not done yet, that's what I'm trying to prove. Manny Pacquiao is not done yet in boxing," said the only eight-division world champion. "I don't have a prediction but I will do my best to win convincingly. If I could have the chance to finish it right away, I'll finish it."
Pacquiao's (59-7-2, 38 KOs) last stoppage came in 2009 when he scored a technical knockout win over Miguel Cotto to retain his WBO welterweight title. Matthysse, on the other end, is known as a knockout artist as he has compiled an impressive record of having 36 knockouts in his 39 victories against only four defeats.
"It's a great opportunity for me to fight Manny Pacquiao. It's a dream come true. It's an honor because he's a legendary fighter. It's the first time defending my world title which was very difficult for me to attain. I'll die for the title if I have to. I'm going to defend this title to the death," said Matthysse, who scored a knockout victory over Tewa Kiram back in January -- 14 years into his professional boxing career.
The 35-year-old defending champion, however, made it clear that he aims to knock out Pacquiao and end his legendary career.
"He's still a great fighter but since the knockout of [Juan Manuel] Marquez, he's not the same fighter anymore. He's not in his prime anymore. He's still very good, but not at the same level," Matthysse said.
Pacquiao talked about who will train him for his comeback fight after a year layoff. He said he has not yet made the decision.
"Freddie [Roach] and I are like family. I have not made a decision yet. But assuming I made the decision and chose Buboy Fernandez for this fight, I'm still not closing the door on Freddie. We just want to experience what it will be like. For the next fight, we can always go back to Freddie," Pacquiao said.
The Filipino senator will turn 40 in December but said retiring is still far from his mind.
"I love to raise the flag of the Philippines," Pacquiao said. "If we can be united even just for a short while when I fight, then I'll keep fighting."