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Manny Pacquiao is ready to step back into the ring.
Following a year-plus layoff, the 39-year-old Pacquiao, who also moonlights as a senator back in his native Philippines, will fight against WBA welterweight world champion Lucas Matthysse on July 14 in Malaysia, according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya.
“Signed, sealed, and delivered: Proud to officially announce that WBA welterweight world champion Lucas Matthysse will put his title on the line against Manny Pacquiao in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday night July 14 (U.S. time),” De La Hoya wrote on social media.
One major change for Pacquiao in this fight? He’ll be without longtime trainer Freddie Roach in his corner. This time around, Pacquiao will work with Buboy Fernandez, who has served as an assistant trainer for Pacquiao during his career. ESPN reports that the press conference to announce the fight will be held April 18 in Manila.
Pacquiao hasn’t fought since losing to Jeff Horn in July 2017 in Australia, in what was considered a pretty controversial decision. Pacquiao came into that fight as the heavy favorite, and many boxing analysts felt Pacquiao did enough to win the match. Instead, the judges called it in favor of Horn.
Now, Pacquiao will get the chance to prove himself against the 35-year-old Matthysse. The fighter from Argentina has gone 39-4 with 36 knockouts in his career, and he comes into the Pacquiao matchup after winning a vacant secondary welterweight title in January against Tewa Kiram of Thailand.
Many in the boxing world wondered if Pacquiao would retire after the Horn fight, but clearly he still has an itch to get back into the ring. Fortunately for Pacquiao, the fight is scheduled during a recess in the Philippine Senate, so he’ll have time to train.
“We had to schedule this fight so the senate wasn’t in session and wouldn’t interfere,” Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz told ESPN.