Welcome (finally) to the Matthysse Era

May, 21, 2013
5/21/13
2:10
PM ET
The interruption came with the subtlety and grace of a sledgehammer, not unlike the punches landed minutes before by Lucas Matthysse in his dismantling of Lamont Peterson on Saturday.

As Showtime's Jim Gray was set to begin his postfight interview with the Argentine slugger in the center of the ring at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., the microphone was abruptly hijacked by Golden Boy CEO and Matthysse promoter Richard Schaefer.

"Let me say first something. We have -- we have a new Manny Pacquiao! He's from Argentina and his name is Lucas 'The Machine' Matthysse!" blurted an overwhelmingly giddy Schaefer, the fact that he also mispronounced Matthysse's surname making it all the more amusing.

Schaefer's commandeering of the spotlight in Matthysse's finest hour came off as something akin to the drunk uncle at a wedding going off the rails in an unsolicited serenade of the bride and groom. But aside from the comic relief the moment provided, Schaefer's outburst could also be viewed as a microcosm of Golden Boy's handling of the fighter up to this point.

Matthysse's performance on Saturday was a statement to future opponents and casual fans alike that he's for real, not just one of boxing's most devastating punchers. But based on the authentic reaction of Schaefer, who couldn't resist waiting another second to inform the free world just how valuable a commodity Golden Boy now possessed, it was as if Matthysse's promoter had no idea what it had in the first place.

So the natural question becomes: What the heck took Schaefer so long?

If it wasn't for Peterson's willingness to test himself against a fighter who has been so consistently avoided over the past two years, Matthysse's recent run of knockouts against a battery of faded, C-level, unknown and overrated fighters might have been forced to continue. And that's especially considering Golden Boy was beginning to look like an accomplice to Matthysse's problem, with the outside impression being the promoter was unwilling to match him with any of its prized in-house stars.

Matthysse campaigned constantly for a fight with the name at the top of the food chain at 140 pounds: fellow Golden Boy fighter Danny Garcia. Instead, he was continually persuaded to accept a fight he never wanted, one against fellow all-action countryman and friend Marcos Maidana, who had moved up to welterweight.

In a nutshell, that's exactly who Matthysse is -- a fighter not interested in being simply an attraction (like so many fighters today) and one whose sole focus is to test himself in every single fight against the very best in the world.

Finally, thanks to a perfect storm of events on Saturday, Matthysse will get that chance against Garcia in September, as long as the unbeaten Garcia doesn't win the Floyd Mayweather Jr. lottery in the meantime. And with the Peterson fight marking Matthysse's first under new manager Al Haymon, one can assume the days of him not getting the push he rightfully deserves are now over.

If Matthysse, 30, can learn English to increase his profile to an American audience, his potential as a breakout star has no limits thanks to his look and highly marketable style.

Not only has he finished 32 of the 34 fighters he has defeated, Matthysse also claims to have knocked down every single opponent who has gotten into the ring with him. Add to that the fact that both of his losses, a pair of split decisions in the hometowns of Zab Judah and Devon Alexander, were contentious enough that it isn't ridiculous to consider Matthysse an unbeaten fighter at this point.

It was just yesterday that Matthysse couldn't get a fight to save his life. Now his promoter is hailing him as the sport's next Pacquiao.

The Lucas Matthysse Era has begun, and it's nice to see everyone is finally on board.

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