Photo Credit: Hogan Photos
CARSON, CA — Viktor Postol weathered a blistering sixth round barrage from Lucas Matthysse to score a stunning 10th round knockout last night at the StubHub Center. The emphatic win gave Postol the vacant WBC super lightweight title and put him in the conversation to face a fellow undefeated star in the division, Terence Crawford.
INTENSE CHESS: The early rounds were tense as Postol used his freakish length and movement to keep Matthysse on the end of hard jabs and 3-4 punch combinations. Matthysse responded by cutting off the ring, crouching to keep himself a small target, and exploding with hard hooks. While Matthysse’s offense was more eye-catching and elicited “oohs” from the partisan crowd, Postol’s work had a consistency lacking from his opponent.
DOUBLE MOMENTUM SHIFT: Matthysse began coming on strong in the fifth. His pressure forced Postol to constantly hold. The clinching didn’t provide adequate rest since Matthysse delivered clubbing shots (some behind the head). The referee warned Postol for holding which allowed Matthysse to start raining home his lethal left and right hooks.
These punches wobbled Postol in the sixth and Matthysse pressed what appeared to be a possible TKO. Suddenly, an errant clash of heads caused Matthysse to turn away in the pain. Once action resumed, Postol had regained his composure and kept Matthysse at bay with his own combinations, highlighted by short right uppercuts and stiff jabs.
From the seventh on, Postol never relinquished control. As Matthysse now labored, Postol could fight effectively at long-range and landed repeated combinations. Matthysse began to swell and was wobbled from several Postol right crosses in the eighth.
Desperation had kicked in by the 10th. Matthysse came inside Postol’s guard with a left jab downstairs and was caught flush by a straight right. Matthysse fell to his knees and although cognizant of the count, opted to stay down.
“I felt comfortable with the pace of the fight,” Matthysse reflected. “I also feel that I had dominated a few rounds and we were even in the cards. But, he got me with that right cross and hit my left eye. I felt there was damage to my eye and I also didn’t feel my body. The pain was instant and I knew I had to stop because I wasn’t sure what my eye looked like. But, fortunately nothing happened. My team tells me that it looks good. But, Postol is not the best yet.”
POSTOL’S FUTURE: The Iceman finds himself now on the favorable side of boxing politics, as his weight class has an abundance of Top Rank fighters. Jose Benavidez is an option, as well as Terence Crawford and Antonio Orozco, who was victorious in the co-feature against Humberto Soto. Crawford is the biggest challenge out of three, and Postol let it be known in the post-fight press conference that he wants that matchup.
“Postol will be a force in the 140 and 147 positions,” said Bob Arum, Top Rank founder. “He is difficult to fight against, Top Rank will have a lot of big fights scheduled for him.”
MATTHYSSE’S TITLE HOPES DASHED AGAIN: Last night was Matthysse’s second shot at the WBC title after falling short against Danny Garcia in 2013. We saw the same flaws in each contest — the inability to adjust and clear discouragement in the later rounds. The difference last night is that Matthysse was unwilling to finish, making this the first time an opponent mentally and physically broke him.
Twitter was harsh last night, with one writer even going as far to call his quitting “pathetic.” At 33 years old, he’s still one of the division’s biggest punchers and will always be dangerous. But the road back will be even tougher. Aside from guys like Viktor Postol and Terence Crawford, guys like Amir Imam are right there as well. And what probably hurts most for the Matthysse camp is Top Rank had him pegged as the #1 option to face Manny Pacquiao had he won tonight.
For Matthysse’s comeback opponent, I like the idea floated by my colleague Michelle Rosado, who mentioned Mauricio Herrera. Both are Golden Boy fighters, have fan friendly styles, and most importantly for Matthysse, Herrera suffers from a severe lack of power.
ANTONIO OROZCO UD10 HUMBERTO SOTO: Orozco remained undefeated with a wide decision win in name only over Humberto Soto. Orozco struggled early as his aggression was used against him. Soto peppered him with counter shots before Orozco adjusted and began making Soto come to him. From that angle, Orozco was able to rely on a higher punch output and quicker hands to carry rounds.
Final scores were unanimous for Orozco even with a low blow point deduction: 98-91 and 97-92 twice.