Lucas Matthysse was known as one of the most exciting fighters not long ago.
The Argentinian provided boxing fans with two Fight of the Year contenders in 2015 with thrilling bouts against Viktor Postol and Ruslan Provodnikov.
Matthysse, who fittingly has the nickname “The Machine,” never turned in a dull performance and wasn’t afraid to fight the best opponents. His resume includes bouts against Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson and John Molina Jr.
But it’s been a long time since La Maquina (The Machine in Spanish) has been activated.
Matthysse (37-4, 34 knockouts) will end his 20-month layoff Saturday when he faces Emmanuel Taylor (20-4, 14 KOs) on the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. HBO pay-per-view undercard at T-Mobile Arena.
“I feel happy to be back in the ring and return to the United States,” Matthysse said. “I’ve prepared well, and I’m just excited for Saturday.”
The former interim junior welterweight champion sustained an eye injury in his loss against Postol, but Matthysse said the eye healed a long time ago and he just wanted a break from the sport. The all-out ring wars had caught up to Matthysse.
“My eye is fine,” Matthysse said. “Doctors cleared me in Argentina long ago. I needed to recharge and have a break from fighting. I’ve been in a lot of tough fights. It was the right time to rest.”
Matthysse, 34, said he’s wiser and has made improvements with trainer Joel Diaz, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stop going for knockouts.
“I won’t change my fighting style,” Matthysse said. “I have two strong hands that can hurt my opponents. Fighting aggressive is who I am.”
This will be the first time Matthysse fights in a welterweight match. He hopes to end his stellar career with a world championship in the 147-pound division.
“My goals remain the same,” Matthysse said. “I want the best fights and become champion.”
When Canelo first met Chavez Sr.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez said he first met Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. after one of his fights in Mexico when he was 16.
“I saw him when I was walking out of the ring and I got close to him,” said Alvarez, who grew up idolizing Chavez Sr. “He told me to always try my best and keep getting better.”
Chavez’s son, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., will face Alvarez on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
Alvarez was asked an unrealistic question Wednesday. Would he rather be fighting the dad or son this weekend?
The Mexican superstar played along.
“We’re talking about two different times,” Alvarez said, “but to fight someone like Julio Sr., just imagine how big that would be? I wish I could fight during those times. To fight someone like Chavez Sr. would only improve my career.”
Contact Gilbert Manzano at email@example.com or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.
Lucas Matthysse file
Record: 37-4, 34 knockouts
Next fight: vs. Emmanuel Taylor, Saturday, T-Mobile Arena
Nickname: The Machine
Title: Former WBC interim junior welterweight champion
Signature wins: Ruslan Provodnikov, Lamont Peterson, John Molina Jr.
Notable losses: Viktor Postol, Danny Garcia, Zab Judah