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Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse lands on ESPN+ streaming service

Hey, at least it’s not on pay-per-view.

Manny Pacquiao, Anton Tabuena Anton Tabuena

Three years ago, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) took part in the richest fight in boxing history, losing a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather. Two years ago, Pacquiao dispatched Jessie Vargas on a Top Rank PPV after HBO dropped his contract. Last year, he fought on ESPN against Jeff Horn, dropping a controversial unanimous decision in enemy territory. In 2018, “Pac-man” will be competing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia against the dangerously powerful Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs), and the fight will air on the new ESPN+ streaming service.

Top Rank Boxing announced that ESPN+ has acquired US broadcast rights to the July 14th (July 15th in Malaysia) contest. Pacquiao opted to promote this fight himself, so the only thing Top Rank was in charge of was finding an American distributor, but due to numerous missed payment deadlines from MP Promotions, plans for a pay-per-view fell apart. The start time also runs into other live ESPN programming, so a last-minute TV agreement evidently wasn’t in the cards.

“I am very happy that all of my fans in America will have a chance to watch my next fight on ESPN+, and I am looking forward to putting on a show,” Pacquiao said in an official press release. “Matthysse is a great opponent. I am training with all of my heart because I want to be champion again.”

Argentina’s Matthysse is the WBA’s secondary welterweight champion — they’re basically the worst offenders of the major sanctioning bodies when it comes to superfluous titles — and coming off a rather bizarre KO win over Tewa Kiram back in January. Matthysse is best known for his vicious mauling of Lamont Peterson, as well as this absolutely brutal war with Ruslan Provodnikov.

July 14th figures to be a big day for boxing on ESPN networks, as exciting 140 lbs prospect Regis Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs) fights Juan Jose Velasco (20-0, 12 KOs) for a spot in the World Boxing Super Series eight-man tournament. That Top Rank on ESPN card airs at 7 PM ET, and at 9 PM ET the Pacquiao vs. Matthysse card will stream on ESPN+. Ring walks for that main event are expected to be no later than 11 PM ET.

ESPN+ is available for US residents only, and has a monthly subscription cost of $4.99, but you can get a 7-day free trial right now. Keep in mind that ESPN+ will be broadcasting the majority of the non-PPV UFC shows starting in 2019.