Argentine boxing is entering a banner year with its two most visible stars, Sergio Martinez and Marcos Maidana, getting ready to take on two future Hall of Famers, and a third one in Lucas Matthysse planning a big comeback after a disappointing defeat in 2013.
The task calls for all hands on deck in a 2014 that could prove to be historic for the country’s fighting elite. And with that in mind, Team Matthysse announced on Thursday the hiring of former junior welterweight titleholder Juan Martin Coggi as “alternate coach” and strategist in Lucas’ corner, bringing Coggi's “his well-known vision of boxing and his great experience traveling the world representing Argentina” to help Matthysse regain his former stature, according to a press release by Arano Box, the fighter’s local promoter.
A tough southpaw with lots of stamina and a long, sweeping wallop that earned him the nickname “The Whip”, Coggi was a three-time WBA 140-pound titlist between 1986 and 1996, winning the belt for the first time against Patrizio Oliva in Italy and losing it three years later to Loreto Garza. He regained it in 1993 after beating Morris East in Buenos Aires, losing it to Frankie Randall at the end of their personal trilogy. He had a 13-3 record in world title fights, including a 1-2 record against Frankie Randall and victories over Akibonu Hiranaka, Jorge Tejada, Harold Brazier, José Luis Ramirez and others. He retired after losing to Michelle Pichirillo in 1999 and became a trainer shortly thereafter, coaching his son Martin Antonio Coggi into a modest success, among other local fighters.
“It’s a great honor to welcome in this team a man who is a legend in boxing,” said Luis Dionisio “Cuty” Barrera, Matthysse’s trainer, who will remain in his job as head coach and chief second. Professor Matias Erbin, a “young and talented coach who will undoubtedly contribute a lot (to the Matthysse Team),” was also named physical conditioning coach. Dr. Eduardo Leguizamon remains the team’s lead physician.
Although there are no names lined up for Matthysse’s return, promoter Mario Arano said that “we’ve had talks with Golden Boy Promotions and they’ve proposed two likely dates for Lucas’ return, which are April 19 or 26. We will disclose the name of the opponent as soon as we reach an agreement.”
Photo / Naoki Fukuda