Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, long-time contender Lucas Matthysse faces undefeated Viktor Postol for the vacant WBC light welterweight title. In an era when fighters tends to make belts, rather than the other way around, Matthysse is a perfect example of a boxer who has become a star without ever holding a world title. The all-action slugger has knocked out 34 of the 40 men he has faced, while beating 37 of them. Of the three fights he lost, two were hotly contested split decisions (against Zab Judah and Devon Alexander), in which he dropped his opponent.
With Danny Garcia now fighting at full welterweight, Matthysse is the clear-cut top fighter left at 140 pounds, based on resume. He has a Round 3 TKO win over Lamont Peterson and won by majority decision over Ruslan Provodnikov last April, in a Fight of the Year candidate. Provodnikov and Peterson are both top five at light welterweight. If Matthysse can take care of his business against Viktor Postol, it will give him three wins over current top-10 fighters in his division.
Nobody should be dismissive of Postol’s chances, though. At 5’11”, Postol has the length and reach to create problems for the compact Matthysse. The undefeated Ukrainian has good technical boxing, which should give him a chance to exploit his physical advantages. Nobody has looked better against Selcuk Aydin. Postol stopped the tough Turkish fighter in Round 11 in 2014.
Postol has just 11 KOs, so the challenge for him will be to hit with enough pop to discourage Matthysse’s ability to come forward. Matthysse has very good offensive footwork and an explosive ability to close distance and deliver a big shot. So ultimately, I do see this as a likely win for Matthysse. I think he’ll break Postol down and end things late.
Ideally, the winner of this one would face WBO champion Terence Crawford, who I believe is ultimately the best all-around fighter in the division and potentially better than anybody at 147, too. Crawford is scheduled to face Dierry Jean later this month. I expect him to take care of his business in that one.
If this months goes as expected, the stage should be set for a highly anticipated showdown between Matthysse and Crawford in early 2016. Hopefully, Golden Boy and Top Rank will be able to make it happen.