Like every fighter from 140 to 154 pounds, Lucas Matthysse wants a shot at Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the big payday that comes with it.
But there are dues to be paid before Mayweather grants any fighter that opportunity. Matthysse will pay his Saturday at the MGM Grand when he faces Danny Garcia, the undefeated WBC and WBA junior welterweight champion, on the undercard of the Mayweather-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez world junior middleweight title fight.
“Hopefully (a victory) means a future fight with Floyd Mayweather,” Matthysse said last week through a translator. “Of course I want to fight Floyd. I know that winning is going to open a lot of doors for me, so I am taking (Garcia) seriously.”
Matthysse (34-2, 32 knockouts) is two close defeats from also being undefeated. He has lost two split decisions — to Zab Judah in 2010 and Devon Alexander in 2011. Since the Alexander loss, Matthysse has knocked out five of six opponents.
“I haven’t shown my boxing ability,” Matthysse said. “But it’s not my fault. My opponents run from me, so I have to go after them. But I know how to box.”
Garcia and his father and trainer, Angel, aren’t impressed with Matthysse’s boxing skills. They see him as a brawler who is susceptible to being counter-punched. From the moment he signed for this fight, the 30-year-old from Argentina knew Angel Garcia was going to play mind games and try to discredit what he has accomplished.
“Nothing worries me,” Matthysse said. “It just shows they’re worried. That’s why they’re talking so much.
“I’ve trained very hard, and I’m ready for anything. Being so well prepared is what gives me confidence. I feel his style suits me. He’s not a very good boxer. He’s a fighter that’s aggressive and comes forward just like I do. I like that.”
Matthysse’s aggressive style has made him popular in the United States. He is part of a group of Argentine fighters, including Sergio Martinez and Marcos Maidana, who have had success and have a growing following in America.
“Actually, I’m a little surprised by how many people have started to follow me,” Matthysse said. “Even all the Latino people, they give me support and love.
“It’s an honor to be fighting in this era. All we do is train hard and use our heart in our training and in our fights.”
To prepare for Garcia (26-0, 16 KOs), Matthysse went to Palm Springs, Calif., three weeks ago and trained with Timothy Bradley, who also has a big fight in Las Vegas when he defends his WBO welterweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez on Oct. 12 at the Thomas &Mack Center.
“Obviously, he’s got good speed and experience,” Matthysse said of Bradley. “That’s going to help a lot.”
Matthysse said the best-prepared fighter probably will survive the 12-round title fight, which will be televised on Showtime Pay Per View.
“Conditioning is the key,” he said. “That’s no secret. Danny will be in good condition. So will I. If you get hit, you will have to be in good condition to survive.”
Matthysse can add to his fan base with a win. And with Mayweather in the building, Matthysse perhaps can move a step closer to the ultimate payday with the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
“It’s an honor to be in a fight on this big of a stage,” he said. “I know there’s going to be a lot of interest, and it’s the fight of my life. I’m going to take advantage of it.”
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.