Manny Pacquiao is the new WBA welterweight champion.
The Philippines’ boxing senator recorded his first stoppage victory since 2009 at the expense of Argentine Lucas Matthysse.
Pacquiao’s victory was despite calls to retire and collective doubt on his fitness to continue in the sport.
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The 39-year old Pacquiao had dominated Matthysse since first round. The Argentine was sent to the floor with a jab to the chin in the third round, but eventually returned to the action.
The fifth round saw Pacquiao sending a flurry of power shots to Matthysse, who took a knee shortly before the bell rang. By the next round, Matthysse was limited to short jabs that Pacquiao easily countered with more power shots.
An emphatic uppercut from the Filipino sent Matthysse to his knees in the seventh round. Referee Kenny Bayless ordered the match stopped after the now-former champion struggled to return to his feet.
Doubts, calls for retirement
With his 60th win, the boxing world is celebrating with Pacquiao, who earlier in the year had been called on to retire.
Class from Pacquiao. The boxing community was calling for him to retire and he goes out and produces that performance. Perfect from the beginning. Professional for 23 years and countless millions in the bank and he still does that. Shocked. #PacquiaoXMatthysseKL
— Boxing Kingdom (@BoxingKingdom14) July 15, 2018
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s former coach advised the new welterweight champion to retire after a surprising loss to Australian Jeff Horn in July 2017.
Roach suffers from Parkinson’s disease, an illness often caused by head trauma, and is thus regarded as one of the health risks posed by a length career in boxing.
This would be the perfect moment for Pacquiao to retire. With a bang. With his head held high. But with this emphatic win, he'll do the exact opposite and fight on. And that's the sad thing.
— Dino Maragay (@dino_mars) July 15, 2018
Pacquiao has announced that he is willing to take on another match. Analysts are divided over the announcement. Some are calling for Pacquiao to retire, while some are excited to see the next step in his career. — with reports from Dino Maragay, Philstar.com sports editor; Videos by TopRank and Philstar.com