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Lucas Matthysse Backs into Showtime Headliner for What Should Be the Final Time

January 25th, 2013 at 10:15 AM
By Sharon Scrima

'Hard Rock Hotel & Casino' photo (c) 2009, danzil raines - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Hard-hitting Lucas Matthysse has once again been elevated to main event status on Showtime® Championship Boxing as a result of a rescheduled bout that was to feature current IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander. If Matthysse performs as he did the first time he was thrust into the limelight (and as he often does), it should be the last time he 'backs into' such a billing and he'll make it a rough night for his opponent Mike Dallas, Jr. when the two face off tomorrow night at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, The Joint in Las Vegas (10 PM ET/PT).  

Matthysse (32-2, 30 KO's) made the most of the opportunity he was given to headline a Showtime card last September after the championship fight between Alexander and then titleholder Randall Bailey was postponed to October 20 due to a back injury suffered by Bailey just days before the scheduled bout. Therefore, the WBC interim light welterweight title fight between Matthysse and Ajose Olusegun was bumped to the main event from the undercard. It wound up being a far more entertaining and hard fought battle than Bailey-Alexander, with Olusegun more than courageously weathering several storms before being stopped by the relentless Matthysse in the tenth round.

In an ironic twist, Alexander was scheduled to defend his belt against Kell Brook in the main event of tomorrow night's card only to have that fight moved to February 23 after Brook suffered an ankle injury. It once again results in Matthysse being elevated to center stage where he will make the first defense of the title he won almost five months ago when he takes on slick boxer Dallas (19-2-1, 8 KO's).

Given the fluctuating nature of this scheduling, it almost stands to reason that there would even be a change to Matthysse's originally scheduled opponent tonight. Philadelphia's Hank Lundy was initially expected to be active but was replaced by Dallas after Lundy was forced to withdraw due to contractual problems with his promoter.

None of this should be of any relevance to Matthysse who has stopped all but two of his previous opponents, with two losses coming by way of the controversial split decision variety to Zab Judah and, none other than, Devon Alexander. The ever dangerous Argentine imposed his strength and scored knockdowns in both of those fights.

Matthysse is a generally slow starter who gets better as the fight progresses, draining his opponents of energy and systematically wearing them down with his tremendous two-handed power. While he does not have blinding hand speed, he possesses outstanding timing and fires vicious combinations to the head and body. He is knockout minded but patient, willing to put in the work to land his deadly right hand.

Dallas may be well-served to jump on Matthysse early before the bruising champion gets into a groove. However, that approach does not work to the 26-year old Californian's strengths which consist of a good jab, hand speed and footwork. Dallas lacks punching power and has a tendency to lean too far forward so, in all likelihood, will keep moving while boxing from the outside. It will be up to Matthysse to catch him or wear him down which should only be a matter of time as Dallas is not expected to sustain the energy level for a full 12 rounds or be able to exchange with his powerful opponent.

With a victory over Dallas, Matthysse could be elevated to even greater main event highs with a potential shot at the 'full' WBC title against Danny Garcia, assuming he gets past Zab Judah on February 9.

That would be a head-first match-up, with Devon Alexander having had nothing to do with Matthysse headlining such an event when that happens. 

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Tags: Ajose Olusegun, Boxing, Danny Garcia, Devon Alexander, Hank Lundy, Jr., Lucas Matthysse, Mike Dallas, Zab Judah

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