A lot of pundits, critics, and fans thought that Ukraine's Viktor Postol was a live underdog tonight against Lucas Matthysse. Nobody thought he would knock out Matthysse. But he did, and now Postol is the new WBC junior welterweight titleholder and has a strong claim to being the top man in the 140-pound division.
Postol (28-0, 12 KO) used his length and reach to control the majority of the action, and took the hard shots of power-punching Matthysse (37-4, 34 KO) quite well when Matthysse did get on a bit of a roll in the middle rounds. Early on, Postol also used a lot of well-timed clinching to aid his cause, but when referee Jack Reiss put a firm stop to that, Postol was able to use his hand speed, timing, and accuracy to frustrate Matthysse, moving around and cleverly outboxing him for a lot of the fight.
In the 10th round, with Postol seemingly in clear control and having taken back the fight's momentum after a spirited Matthysse charge in the 7th and 8th rounds, trainer Freddie Roach told HBO's Max Kellerman that he thought Matthysse was giving up in the fight, not trying as hard as before. Shortly after that, a short right hand from Postol floored Matthysse, who stayed on one knee for the full 10 count, and didn't get up any time soon after it, either.
To say this was a surprising outcome would be understating it. Again, even those who felt Postol could be serious trouble for Matthysse weren't expecting a knockout, and to see Matthysse take the full ten, a beaten man, was really surprising. It also means that Viktor Postol is absolutely, 100% for real, and that this is a fighter to be reckoned with, without question. Is he the best at 140? We'll have to wait and see what Terence Crawford does in three weeks, and with both of those fighters with Top Rank, that might be something to see in 2016.