Manny Pacquiao KO’s Luccas Matthysse in 7th round to claim WBA welterweight title

Screen grab from the Star Online Youtube video

By Dan Rafael/ESPN.com – Questions abounded about what Manny Pacquiao had left.

After all, the Filipino legend, winner of world titles in a boxing-record eight weight divisions and one of the greatest fighters in history, is 39 now and has been a professional fighter for 23 years. He was also coming off a one-year layoff, a controversial loss and a change of trainers when he returned to the ring on Sunday to challenge Lucas Matthysse for his secondary welterweight title.

But any doubts that Pacquiao still has something to offer were put to rest as he turned in a sensational performance in a seventh-round knockout of Matthysse at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for a fight that headlined the Top Rank on ESPN+ card.

Not only did Pacquiao, a sitting senator in the Philippines, get a clear victory against a well-established opponent — one also a bit long in the tooth — but he got one by knockout after scoring three knockdowns against Matthysse.

Pacquiao, once viewed as one of the most ferocious punchers in the sport, had not knocked out an opponent since his tour de force against Miguel Cotto, whom he knocked out in the 12th round to win a welterweight world title for the first time in November 2009, a fight many view as the peak of his career. It had been 13 consecutive fights since he had won by knockout, a stretch in which he went 9-4.

But he looked more like the Pacquiao of old than an old Pacquiao on this night.

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