Lucas Matthysse, coming in to this fight, is arguably an undefeated fighter suffering two controversial decision losses (I had him winning both). Matthysse’s body work and punching power made him the favorite to win this fight. Humberto Soto, who was ranked #2 in the WBC, #3 in the WBA and #7 in the WBO, came into the ring with his boxing ability and ring experience. At the start of the first round Soto took the lead by firing his left jab frequently, even doubling it at times. He followed the jabs up with an occasional right hand, giving good movement and circling. Many of Soto’s punches were blocked by Matthysse, but with a pro Mexican crowd in the Staples Center his blows were received with plenty cheers. Soto requested this fight be a 10 rounder, which has been the trend for him as his last four fights were 10 rounder’s. A move meant to not give Matthysse the time to close the show in the later rounds. Soto was the faster, busier fighter landing one or two combinations in the first round (I scored it 10-9 Soto).
The bell rings to start the second round and it is Soto picking up where he left off, with his speed playing a huge factor in the fight. Soto implemented another tool in his arsenal this round, the uppercut. The uppercut landed 3 to 4 times this round cleanly. Soto began mixing in the jab and left hook that had great success up until the mid-way mark of the second round. Matthysse, being the fighter that we know and love, was slowing cutting the ring off making it a tough fight landing blows in between clinches; turning Soto’s efforts at making this a technical fight into a ugly rough and tough war. Towards the late half of the round, Matthysse found ways to force Soto into exchanges while landing body shots that may not look effective but slowly took the steam out of Soto’s punches. In the last few seconds Matthysse cornered Soto to the ropes and landed a huge right hand and then another at the bell sending him down. After a look at the replay its evident there was a slip and it was a good call by Raul Caiz Sr, who was interjecting himself too much into this fight after only two rounds. I scored it 10-9 Matthysse.
3rd commences and Matthysse found it easier to close the gap between him and Soto by landing a beautiful right hand to the body only to slow Soto down more; seconds later another right, this time up stairs. 1:40 into the round Soto digs to the body with a left hook, but Matthysse came back with a left uppercut, left hook combination followed by another right hand to the head of Soto. The war begins as they start to exchange in the middle of the ring. Soto starts to back pedal as he is realizing why Matthysse has won 29 of his 34 by KO and the power became evident more and more to Soto with the landing of each blow. Soto has his moments but is ending up more and more on the ropes. I scored it 10-9 Matthysse
Fighters come out for the fourth round yet it’s Matthysse that seems to show a burst of energy from the beginning with affective aggression driving Soto to the ropes releasing right hands not really landing but keeping Soto wary. 2:04 into round Soto lands a picture perfect double left to the body and head of Matthysse. The tempo of the fight is changing as we begin to see Matthysse throw and land more and more right hands mixing in a few uppercuts here and there that have been efficacious as the fight proceeds. At the mid-way mark of the round Matthysse lands a left hook that whips Soto’s head but Soto lands his own right. It’s apparent at this point it would be unfathomable to expect these two to keep up this type of pace, the power shots being thrown and landed wouldn’t allow it. Matthysse continued investing to the body of Soto. Soto landing with an up jab followed by an uppercut that seemed to have hurt Matthysse as he takes his first step backwards, I scored it 10-9 Matthysse.
5th round and Soto seems to have gotten his second wind as he tries to implement the tactics that won him the first round pumping the jab and throwing combination, however Matthysse was still going to the body and pressuring Soto. 2:25 of the round Matthysse land a big left hook to get the crowds admiration. 1:34 Matthysse lands a left hook to body that sends Soto backing up and inhaling heavy. Soto comes back with a four punch flurry while Matthysse is against the ropes. With 7 seconds left in the round Matthysse lands s left hook followed by a whipping right hand, another left hook and another right hand that sends Soto backwards on sea legs. Matthysse chases behind his prey and lands one last straight right hand that sends Soto crashing to the canvas at the sound of the bell, but the bell can’t save Soto and the replay won’t show a slip this time as it was the creation of accumulation of left and right hands. Soto beats the count but in my opinion Raul Caiz sr should have stop the fight as he instructed Soto to walk to him and he could not without holding onto the ropes. Soto’s corner saw what I saw and felt as I felt, so did Soto for that matter as he advised his corner to stop the fight. When they asked him how he was feeling it will be reported that the corner stopped it but if you know Spanish and you listen, Soto himself wanted it to stop as he sits in his stool motionless and with his eyes practically closed.
This win for Matthysse means big things of course but don’t expect him to get in the ring with the winner of Khan vs. Garcia, even if this fight was supposedly a semi-final eliminator fight. As we know this WBC continental Americas light welterweight title means nothing in terms of getting the WBC champion who ever that may be come July 14.