Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao is back at the top of the boxing universe.
The vintage boxing legend winner of world titles in a record eight weight divisions defied the odds by stopping Argentinian champion Lucas Matthysse in the 7th round to capture the WBA Welterweight Championship at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Pacquiao dropped Matthysse in the third and fifth rounds before the referee stopped it after he sent him to the canvas for a third time in the seventh.
This was the first time in 9 years that Pacquiao knocked out an opponent. His last KO was in November 2009 , when he floored Miguel Cotto in the 12th round to win a welterweight world title for the first time. It had been 13 consecutive fights since he had won by knockout, a stretch in which he went 9-4.
The victory gave the 39-year-old Senator the 60th win of his career, which also includes seven losses and two draws.
“I’m surprised I knocked him down so early,” said Pacquiao.
“It was a long time ago since I’ve done that. I came out smoking hot.”
Matthysse, 35, had won 36 of his 44 fights by knockout going into the bout.
“We did a good job in training,” added Pacquiao. “We were not pushing hard – we controlled our pace and ourselves.
“I’m no longer young so thanks to my trainer and all my team members.”
In the Pacquiao-Matthysse “Fight of Champions” undercard, Filipino Jhack Tepora put in a sensational performance stopping Mexico’s Edivaldo Ortega in the ninth round to annex the WBA interim featherweight title.
Another Filipino youngster Juan Miguel Elorde also KO’d Ratchanon Sawangsoda of Thailand.