Manny ‘Pac-Man’ Pacquiao impressed on his return to the ring last night, stopping the dangerous Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpa.
A year since his controversial defeat to Australian Jeff Horn, Pacquiao dominated his younger opponent and knocked him down twice before claiming a first knockout win in almost a decade.
The referee ruled that Matthysse was in no shape to continue towards the end of the seventh.
A dazed Matthysse spat out his gumshield in a signal to referee Kenny Bayless that he had had enough as he crashed to the canvas for the third time.
Despite his advancing age, the Filipino displayed power and speed to pick apart his Argentinian opponent who failed to deal with the awkward angles from which he was attacked.
The third-round knock-down of Matthysse effectively ended the fight as a contest as it became apparent that the Argentinian could not withstand the Pacquiao barrage.
A wonderful uppercut was the centrepiece of a three-punch combination that put Matthysse on the seat of his pants.
In besting Matthysse, Pacquaio picked up yet another world title, adding the WBA regular strap to his collection. It is his eleventh world title in all.
Despite an impressive throwback display by Pacquiao, Lucas Matthysse hardly covered himself in glory.
The brawler is renowned for his punching power, but showed next to nothing of what he has to offer.
Plodding and predictable, the Argentine appeared gun-shy and in awe of his illustrious opponent, and suspicions that he was as mentally defeated as he was physically by the end are likely to endure.
As impressive as the performance was, sterner tests in the form of Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr, Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko.
Beating Matthysse is unlikely to have provided Pacquiao the challenge that would prepare him for such caliber of fighters.
After the fight, Pacquiao addressed the press: “I’m surprised I knocked him down so early, it was a long time ago since I’ve done that (knocked an opponent out). I came out smoking hot.”
Although largely reluctant to address the issue of his future, the Filipino did hint at the toll that fighting at the age of 39 has had on his body.
Pacquiao said: “We did a good job in training, 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.”