Weekend Afterthoughts On Lucas Matthysse’s Invulnerability, Denis Lebedev’s Face And More

In the world of great reaction shots to someone getting knocked out as everyone else around them goes nuts, Marco Antonio Barrera witnessing Manny Pacquiao get KO'd > Danny Garcia witnessing Lamont Peterson get KO'd by Lucas Matthysse Saturday. Matthysse, who might face Garcia next for junior welterweight supremacy, said he thought Garcia looked worried. You decide (via).

My own view is that he didn't look especialy worried in the initial shots, maybe a touch nervous, but he was still at least putting on a front like he was eager for the fight, pointing at his chest and all that. My other view is that his outfit was the worst outfit any human being has ever worn. If you look simultaneously like a Grateful Dead fan and a Jersey Shore douche, your closet needs a controlled burn.

Garcia-Matthysse is still next on deck, according to Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer, on Sept. 7. It's the fight Matthysse wants. It's hard to imagine it happening. I'd dig it if Garcia took the fight even after Matthysse turned in a bone-chilling performance, and Garcia would take a pasting among fans if he avoided it. But I couldn't blame Garcia too much for being scared, if he is. It's not that I'd give him a pass. It's just that I'd understand.

Besides the subjects in the headline of this edition of Weekend Afterthoughts, we'll also look at what's next for the likes of Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander, review the latest wins by Shane Mosley and Edgar Sosa and more.

  • Matthysse's future. No matter the comparisons Schaefer was pushing about Matthysse being the next Manny Pacquiao (yes, he is explosive) or the next Arturo Gatti (yes, he is automatic for action in Atlantic City) it's still too early to say much about him other than that he's the best power puncher in the world not named Gennady Golovkin, and I'd put Matthysse above the middleweight because he's knocking out better competition. (Best comparison I've seen for Matthysse is Kostya Tszyu, because of his combination of solid skill and big power and rat tails, even if Matthysse hasn't been rocking his lately.) I've seen him called special, and there are glimpses of it. The one thing that is without a doubt special is his power — he can land glancing shots and people go down. That might be enough. It's certainly enough to make it so a great many fewer fans are willing to pick Garcia over Matthysse now, myself included. It's also enough to make it so he'd be a big favorite against anyone at 140; Matthysse fights will be interesting primarily for the "When will there be a knockout?" effect until he moves to 147, when his power will be second-guessed until he proves it. He's angling for a Mayweather fight, and he instantly has become the most promising potential opponent after Canelo Alvarez because of his raw power, although he'll be much more promising and have a bigger profile if he gets Garcia, and his profile is still pretty low, judging by that audience in Atlantic City. Whatever misgivings you have about crowning him the Next Great Thing, you'd have to be pretty jaded not to be excited about Matthysse's future after a performance like this one, one that was so eye-opening it didn't bother anyone that it didn't deliver the expected Fight of the Year contender.
  • Peterson's future. The plan for Peterson is to put him in against Zab Judah on the undercard of Matthysse-Garca in a junior welterweight doubleheader in Washington, D.C. Sept. 7. Some think the Barclays Center in Brooklyn is a better option, but Schaefer said it was booked that day. Main thing is, even if D.C. fans didn't come up in droves to A.C. to support Peterson, he is the biggest proven regional draw, and it's not like Judah's Brooklyn and Garcia's Philly are so far away as to make it a bad location. Here's a very encouraging thing about Peterson coming off this Matthysse loss: I see him getting very little grief about the KO, nor should he, and Golden Boy is treating him exactly like it should, which is that Peterson took on a challenge and lost to a dynamo and there's no shame in that. I personally was a little annoyed about Peterson's post-fight remarks about Matthysse's rabbit punches, and he later clarified that he was affected by them in that it got him angry and threw him off his game plan, which is more believable than the initial impression he created that the rabbit punches hurt him enough to set up the KO. Even if you do give him a little grief, who wouldn't want to see Peterson-Judah?
  • PEDs. If there is grief for Peterson, it's in the suspicion some might have that he was somehow worse off by not being on performance enhancing drugs, since he was busted a couple fights ago with synthetic testosterone in his system. Suspicion of Peterson's PED past is legit, but I don't think there's anything to suggest he was any more "on" or "off" them for this fight than in the past — he wasn't taking any tests via the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association or U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that would catch anything more than basic cheats, and his team's "We're doing testing on our own as insurance" claim doesn't count. Schaefer said that he doesn't think promoters should be in the drug-testing business in remarks to David Greisman and myself Friday, a disappointing reversal by the company that had once championed advanced testing. The speculation that made no sense to me was the speculation about Matthysse, which came out of the mouth of former PED dealer Victor Conte right away on Twitter, but phrased as though he wasn't the one speculating. If there's anybody quicker to hint that someone's on PEDs without any evidence than Conte, I don't know who they are.
  • Devon Alexander vs. Amir Khan and the funny things they say. After welterweight Alexander beat Lee Purdy this weekend, the plan remains for him to meet Khan in December, even with Alexander breaking his hand. It's a good plan, and you can see some viable opponents for Mayeather starting to line up — Canelo, followed by the winner of Matthysse-Garcia, followed by the winner of Alexander-Khan. Some of those names were already on the ledger, but they really only become desirable names once they beat the others. With Dan Rafael still reporting so late in the game that his sources "with no dog in the fight" still expect the Mayweather-Robert Guerrero pay-per-view numbers to land at 870,000, I'm beginning to doubt my own previous "absence of evidence" position that suggested the Showtime/Golden Boy claims of a million-plus were likely true. I suppose everyone has incentive to stick with their position, but I'm torn between Rafael's record of accuracy and Showtime's burden to report accurate figures as a publicly traded company. That means Mayweather can't just dust off these guys at their current level of achievement and fame if they're to be PPV attractions — he'll need them to earn more of both qualities.The laugh lines of the weekend also came via Khan and Alexander, with Khan saying he would beat Matthysse if they fought (I'd give Khan one round), Alexander saying Matthysse performance showed how high a level Alexander's at since he beat Matthysse (although very few are of the opinion he deserved the decision) and Alexander asking what the difference was between Mayweather and himself (answer: He's better than you at everything and in every way).
  • Denis Lebedev vs. Guillermo Jones. We arrive now at a different face: Lebedev's. That right eye was grisly, and it's inexcusable that he was allowed to continue with it. I know he was on home soil in Russia, and he was being given every chance to win, but he has to have suffered permanent damage. What's the point of getting him one win if he never fights again? It's too bad, because this was a superb cruiserweight battle, a level short of the bigger Fight of the Year contenders but still awfully good, with a possible Round of the Year candidate in the 7th. Somehow, Jones was once a welterweight, and he just knocked out a top-5 200-pounder.
  • Edgar Sosa-Giovani Segura. Both flyweights fought very well, which is no surprise in Sosa's case based on his recent showings and a little bit of a surprise for Segura, who accomplished little against his first top flyweight opponent, Brian Viloria, en route to a stoppage loss. It was another pleasing battle, although fortunately it lacked some of the unappetizing elements of Lebedev-Jones and Shane Mosley-Pablo Cesar Cano, one that Sosa won by decision. He's now in line for a shot at lineal Transnational Boxing Rankings champion Akira Yaegashi. Sign me up.
  • Shane Mosley-Pablo Cesar Cano. Whether Mosley, four years without a win, looked respectable against Cano can be explained by A. renewed focus/freshness upon returning to his father as his trainer or some such; or B. Cano being little more than a borderline contender; or C. some combination, I cannot say. It is easier to look good against Cano, for sure, than it is against Saul Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao, Sergio Mora and Floyd Mayweather, his most recent opponents. Cano gave two other past-their-prime veterans, Erik Morales and Paulie Malignaggi, a hard time, but ultimately lost. Against Alvarez and Pacquiao in particular, Mosley had trouble pulling the trigger, so much so that the word "shot" began to get bandied about. I guess what we can infer from this is that Mosley can beat guys at this level, albeit barely; Mosley-Malignaggi would be competitive, based on this performance, but Mosley's not anyone I want to see on Showtime or HBO. Schaefer said Mosley deserved another title shot. At 147, the titleholders are Mayweather (no thanks), Malignaggi (if he beats Adrien Broner, which is hard to envision, maybe Mosley-Malignaggi wouldn't be competitive), Alexander (meh) and Timothy Bradley (probably not possible unless Mosley switches from Golden Boy to rival Top Rank). Mosley can still fight some, but it's hard to get enthused about him prolonging his career based on his slurring of recent years — and it's a double-downer, because he can't beat anyone near the top of the division, and guys like Cano just ensure him taking more unnecessary punishment than the next higher level, because he took a lot of punches on route to his win.

(h/t on the video: the boys at Grantland)

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.