Trainer and former world title challenger, John Scully is one of the best cornermen in the sport of boxing, having trained several fighters to world championships. I recently had a chance to speak to John, to talk about one of the most anticipated fights of the summer, Pacquiao vs. Matthysse. John shares his thoughts on the fight and talks about the chances that Manny Pacquiao appears shows signs of decline. In addition, Scully breaks down both fighter’s strengths and talk about the impact of losing Freddie Roach in the corner. Here is what John Scully had to say.
Robert Brown: Manny Pacquiao is going to be facing Lucas Matthysse in June, do you think Matthysse is a dangerous opponent for Pacquiao at this stage of his career?
John Scully: At this point, I would say definitely because the guy is thirty nine years old, he’s had over sixty fights. As elite of a fighter as he is, we have to realize that he has three loses in the last few years. He’s lost more than any other big named fighter has, he’s lost three times no matter how you slice it.
Pacquiao losing is not going to be a huge shock because he’s already lost three times recently. I think Pacquiao is like any fighter where one day, whether it’s this day or another day, he’s going to wake up and it’s not gonna be there, the tank’s gonna be empty. Matthysse certainly could be a guy to bring that out, but my gut feeling is that he probably still has something left.
I think Pacquiao in his recent fights has looked pretty good overall. I don’t think he’s looked washed up, I think he’s proven to be vulnerable in certain areas but when he’s on his game, I think he’s still very formidable.
Robert Brown: On the basis of that, do you think Pacquiao lost to Horn because he underestimated Horn?
John Scully: I think it’s natural that he would have underestimated him a bit, but Horn fought a great fight. Horn was a live underdog and he really came to fight and if anything, he taught Pacquiao a lesson. Jeff Horn made a big name for himself because he was not fazed or intimidated by the name.
Horn taught a lot of people a lesson in terms of just fighting your fight and doing what you have to do to win no matter who you’re in against. I do think Matthysse has a different style and I think he’s going to create more openings than Horn did and I think Pacquiao will probably look pretty good in this fight.
Robert Brown: Why do fighters continue to fight so past their prime?
John Scully: I honestly think that people don’t want to retire because they’re afraid that once they say it’s over, they’ll never be able to get it back. They want to make sure they’ve gotten all they can out of the game.
A big part of it is just the fact that guys love to fight, they love to box, they love the thrill of being in the ring. It’s hard to give that up especially when they are still able to command it. When you’re a fighter and you retire, and you say to yourself, “If I wanted to fight again in three months, I could do it and I could be on television, I can do interview, I can make money.” It’s a big lure to be able to do that.
You get guys who reach a point where they never were able to do that and these champions can do that at the snap of a finger and they don’t want to let it go before it’s too late. I think it’s hard to let that go.
Robert Brown: Do you think Freddie Roach went to Pacquiao and told him to retire? Do you feel that could be what broke the relationship between the two?
John Scully: I think it’s very possible because I think Freddie is a realistic type of trainer. The way it would be in my eyes, where I would think you reached as far as you can go, what’s the point of doing it if you’re not going to be elite like you were? The body only has so many fights in it and Manny has had a ton of them and he’s not going to get better.
I think Freddie probably figures that before he pushes it like Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and so many other guys did and then gets himself hurt, he wants him to go out on top. I don’t know if that happened but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.