Lucas Matthysse wins boxing matches in the time it takes to draw a quick breath. So lethal is the Argentine slugger’s punching power that nearly 94 percent of his victories are via knockout, and 11 times the 140-pounder has ended bouts in the first round.
His latest victim was Mike Dallas Jr., who never stood a chance once Matthysse’s straight right hand connected violently with its target. On Jan. 26, Dallas’s jaw got in the way of the mighty counterpunch and he instantly fell to the canvas, lying motionless for some 10 seconds.
Medical personnel rushed to aid Dallas while Matthysse raised his arms and dashed around the ring. The crowd at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas continued to gasp in amazement and applaud heartily well after referee Robert Byrd kneeled beside Dallas and waved his hands above the felled challenger to declare the fight over.
The ferocity of the knockout even brought Zab Judah to his feet. One of two fighters to score a victory over Matthysse (33-2, 31 knockouts), the former undisputed welterweight champion of the world leapt out of his ringside seat and put his right hand over his mouth as he watched Dallas spill to the mat.
Such moments have compelled boxing fans to remain transfixed during any Matthysse fight, and Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, he’s back in the ring to face International Boxing Federation junior welterweight champion and District native Lamont Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KOs).
The non-title fight between two of the world’s most promising pound-for-pound fighters will be contested at a catch weight of 141 pounds and is scheduled for 12 rounds. The Showtime broadcast begins at 9 p.m.
“There’s a lot of pride,” Matthysse said through an interpreter regarding his one-punch power. “Obviously it’s one of the most important things in boxing, being able to knock someone out.”
Matthysse’s past five fights have ended in knockouts. Only one of those bouts lasted beyond six rounds, and that came Sept. 8, 2012, when he repeatedly landed to the head of Ajose Olesegun for a knockout with three seconds remaining in Round 10 to claim the interim World Boxing Council title.
Even in his losses, Matthysse knocked down his opponents only to have judges render a split decision in each instance. The first was Nov. 6, 2010, against Judah at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Judah went down with two minutes left in the 10th round after Matthysse caught him flush with an overhand right. It was the only knockdown of the fight, which two judges scored in favor of Judah, 114-113, and the third awarding Matthysse the victory by the same tally.
Matthysse’s other loss came against Devon Alexander eight months later. Alexander went down in the fourth round of the 10-round affair, and none of the judges scored the fight the same. Of the two judges who declared Alexander the winner, one had it 96-93 and the other 95-94. A third judge awarded the fight to Matthysse, 96-93, in what became among the sport’s more controversial decisions in recent years.
In between those defeats, Matthysse rendered the judges irrelevant by dispatching DeMarcus Corley with an eighth-round knockout. Matthysse had the former world champion down on one knee early in the round and finished him with a straight right with a minute to go that had referee Herman Guajardo waving his right hand to spare Corley from further punishment.
Matthysse sent Corley down nine times in all and has 20 knockdowns combined over his past nine bouts.
“This is what I signed up for,” Peterson said. “I realize I’m going to get hit in the face.”
Matthysse, 30, began doing that to opponents early in his career. Although he indicated he doesn’t recall precisely when he discovered how potent his right hand could be, Matthysse began boxing at age 11 and three years later was competing for a spot on Argentina’s national team.
Matthysse continues to train in Argentina in Junin, roughly 160 miles west of Buenos Aires. His camp there lasted for two months before Matthysse arrived in the United States this week for his first fight in Atlantic City.
“Winning this fight on Saturday and doing it in big fashion is going to open doors,” Matthysse said. “So it’s very, very important, probably the most important fight of my career. I’m looking for the big fights. I want the big matchups. I want the big names, and it all starts Saturday.”