Friday, May 17, 2013
Matthysse nearly stuck at home
By Dan Rafael
Lucas Matthysse almost missed Saturday's fight after a robbery at his home, according to one source.
Interim junior welterweight titlist Lucas Matthysse was supposed to arrive in New York on Tuesday morning on a flight from his native Argentina that would give him plenty of time to make it the final news conference on Wednesday to promote his 141-pound nontitle showdown with junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson.
They are scheduled to meet Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET/PT) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
But when Matthysse was a no-show at the media event, the reason for his surprising absence was glossed over. Promoter Golden Boy simply attributed it to "a travel issue" and moved on to Peterson and welterweight titlist Devon Alexander and his challenger, Lee Purdy, who will meet in the co-feature.
But behind the scenes there was worry. Golden Boy officials were concerned about whether Matthysse would make it to the United States in time -- or at all -- for the fight.
A source involved in the fight told ESPN.com that Matthysse's home in Argentina was robbed last weekend. During the robbery, according to the source, Matthysse's passport was badly defaced and rendered unusable. It is believed by Matthysse's camp, the source said, that it was an inside job by somebody clearly upset with Matthysse and purposely trying to screw up his travel plans for the fight. After all, burglars don't break into a stranger's home and then go hunting for a passport to destroy.
The intruder almost prevented Matthysse from fighting. Golden Boy spent the early part of the week contemplating a contingency plan in case Matthysse couldn't make it to America in time. What Golden Boy hoped to work out with Showtime in the event that Matthysse couldn't travel would have been to elevate Alexander-Purdy to the main event, with the welterweight fight between unbeaten prospects Shawn Porter and Phil LoGreco getting bumped up to the main broadcast from its slot on the Showtime Extreme portion of the card.
As of last Friday night, Matthysse didn't have a usable passport and needed to get one on short notice in order to get a visa. His team in Argentina was up to the challenge and worked very quickly. Somehow the time-consuming process was completed in a few days.
According to the source, Matthysse had been issued a new passport by the time the Wednesday news conference had started, saving Golden Boy officials from having to explain the situation to the media and to Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KOs).
With his paperwork in hand, Matthysse (33-2, 31 KOs) flew overnight on Wednesday night from Argentina to New York and arrived on Thursday morning. He and his team then drove to Atlantic City and were there by Thursday afternoon to rest, work out, do some interviews, get ready for Friday's weigh-in and, thankfully, Saturday night's big fight.