<
>

Lucas Matthysse's family support

BUENOS AIRES -- Doris Matthysse knows what she's talking about, especially when it comes to boxing.

As a wife (Doris was married to Mario Edgardo Matthysse, a boxer from Trelew, a small town in the Chubut province in Argentina), a proud mother, and even as a boxer herself, Doris has been through it all. She had three children with him, all of whom know what it feels like to put the gloves on: Walter Dario, Edith Soledad and Lucas Martin – the same Lucas Martin who fights Danny Garcia on Saturday.

Doris herself wore the gloves once in her life, and she defeated the local champion, for which she jokingly and proudly says she has a "perfect record."

Before Lucas Matthysse (34-2-0-1, 32 KOs) traveled to the U.S. for his fight against Garcia (26-0, 16 KOs), Matthysse invited his mother to share the last few days of training in Junin, in the Buenos Aires province -- a historical place where Luis Angel Firpo, the "father of Argentine boxing," was born. Doris lives and works in the same province where her son Lucas was born, and for the past seven years she has been working in the Provincial Secretariat of Culture.

"Being with my son in the final phase of his preparation is wonderful," she says while sipping a typical Argentine hot drink called Mate.

"Lucas is special, really, really special. ... He is a very quiet person. He says what needs to be said and, of course, demands a lot of loving care. This is his house; he just bought it. He didn't want to move anywhere else because he likes it here. He has his little garden, his dogs -- and the feeling of being where he belongs."

Doris is also there when times get tough, to lend an ear to her son -- even if he's a bit introverted about his job.

"I stay with him, I listen when he wants to talk and, well, just that -- I am with him," she says.

"Lucas doesn't talk much about boxing, but he pays a lot of attention."

His house has two stories. The ground floor has a big kitchen, a dining room, a huge television screen, a bookshelf full of trophies and championship belts, a bedroom, and a bathroom. Upstairs, there are two bedrooms and a bathroom. There are still some minor accommodations missing, but that's fine -- it's his house, after all. He bought it in July and moved in immediately.

The new house isn't only the one Lucas built – it's also the one he's building.

"He likes working with his hands," Doris says. "I mean, for example, carpentry: He fixes everything, and does the same with the fittings. He also likes flowers. Some time ago, he planted a Jasmine bush and it's already big. I took a clipping and sometimes he sends me a photo by telephone joking about how much bigger than mine his Jasmine is, and I always tell him to just wait, that it's going to grow."

Matthysse is facing the most important fight of his life against Garcia on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez. Matthysse holds an interim title after beating Olusegun Ajose in Las Vegas just over a year ago.

So, does Doris suffer watching her children fight?
"You always suffer, but don't forget, I was married to a boxer," Doris says. "All three [of my children] are different. ... Walter wants to keep fighting at all costs, and he has a son, Ezequiel -- he's 15 years old and has a lot of talent, although sometimes he pressures him a lot. Lucas? We always knew he was going to make it big because he is a tremendous professional who takes good care of himself. And Soledad? Well, I suffer a little more with her; she's my daughter, a woman, plus she's a fighter. She always moves forward, but she's unlucky. I wish she could obtain a world title because she's earned it."

Is this a different Lucas for the fight against Garcia? The matriarch of the family doesn't believe so.

"The only difference is that he knows how important the fight is, but I don't see anything else. ... He's still himself. He runs in the morning; afterwards he sleeps, then he trains until noon and afterwards he sleeps again."

Lucas has a daughter, Priscilla, but because he and his wife are separated, he hasn't always been able to be with her as much as he would like. It seems that the tremendous knockout artist is, at heart, a family man, with feelings as simple as the land where he was born.

"Lucas would like to play the guitar, and I think he will start taking classes soon," Doris says. "He is always surrounded by dogs. He is very solitary; he speaks little and I believe he unloads everything, absolutely everything, with his punches. He doesn't transform himself because he isn't a bloodthirsty fighter. He thinks the fights out. If you don't believe me, look at how peacefully he beat [Lamont] Peterson. Everybody was saying that he was quite a fighter, that it was going to be very equal, and yet, the first time he hit [Peterson] he floored him. That's how he is. He talks with his punches."

And if there was any doubt, Doris reaffirms her position in Lucas' corner.

"[Saturday night] is the most important night for Lucas, and something in my heart tells me that this is also going to be the night when he is going to be crowned champion, because he is better than ever, because he is very confident, because ... because, well, I'm his mother, isn't that enough? I don't think anybody knows him better than I do."