Pacquiao will challenge Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse for the WBA welterweight title at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.In addition, in the world championship co-feature, Filipino power puncher Jhack Tepora (21-0, 16 KOs) will face Edivaldo “Indio” Ortega (26-1-1, 12 KOs) for the vacant WBA featherweight title. Pacquiao and Matthysse are expected to enter the ring at roughly 11:30 p.m. ET. ESPN+ is available to all fans on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.
Pacquiao-Matthysse will cap a full day of boxing on the ESPN family of networks, as Regis “Rougarou” Prograis will defend the WBC Diamond super lightweight title against Juan Jose Velasco, and lightweight sensation Teofimo Lopez will face William Silva, live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 7 p.m. ET and via streaming on the ESPN App from the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. Undercard action from New Orleans will stream live on ESPN+ starting at 4:30 p.m. ET.
“I am very happy that all of my fans in America will have a chance to watch my next fight on ESPN+, and I am looking forward to putting on a show,” Pacquiao said. “Matthysse is a great opponent. I am training with all of my heart because I want to be champion again.”
“This extraordinary event only affirms ESPN’s commitment to providing boxing fans with the biggest and best fights in the sport,” said Bob Arum, Top Rank’s founder and CEO. “Manny Pacquiao is one of the greatest champions in boxing history, and his fight against Matthysse promises to be a sensational one.”
“This matchup is a perfect example of the world-class caliber of events we envisioned for ESPN+ when we announced our agreement with Top Rank,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling. “Pacquiao vs. Matthysse, which will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+, shows the commitment we have to delivering fans the best of boxing year-round on our direct-to-consumer platform.”
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs), the living legend from General Santos City, Philippines, will look to score his first knockout victory since 2009. Before losing the WBO welterweight world championship to Jeff Horn via controversial unanimous decision last July, Pacquiao recaptured the title on November 5, 2016 by defeating then-champion Jessie Vargas at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. In a career that has spanned more than two decades, Pacquiao has victories against legendary fighters like Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Ricky Hatton.
Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) won the vacant WBA welterweight title Jan. 27 in Los Angeles with an eighth-round knockout over Thailand’s Tewa Kiram. One of boxing’s best punchers, pound-for-pound, he is an all-action brawler who has participated in multiple Fight of the Year contenders, including an 11th-round knockout win over John Molina in 2014 and a 12-round majority decision victory over Ruslan Provodnikov in 2015. Matthysse has won two straight since a 10th-round knockout loss to then-undefeated Viktor Postol on Oct. 3, 2015.
Upcoming exclusive boxing on ESPN+ includes the July 28 battle for the vacant World Boxing Organization 130-pound title as Puerto Rican Star Christopher Diaz faces Masayuki Ito at the Kissimmee Civic Center. Diaz-Ito will stream live and exclusively in the United States at 9:30 p.m. ET with undercard action starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.