Matthews made the claim on the Unplugged podcast with Matt Stephens explaining that he felt that being elbowed, head-butt or taken out has just become a part of racing.
“In terms of the peloton, respect between the riders has definitely gone,” Matthews said.
“When I first turned professional it was really like there were guys in the peloton you looked up to and if they said something, that’s what you did even if you were in a different team.”
The Aussie rider's comments come after incidents of physical aggression at the Tour of Flanders when Yevgeniy Fedorov and Otto Vergaerde were both disqualified after clashing in the early stages of the race.
The 30-year-old said older riders no longer had the same influence as they did during the early stages of his career with it becoming more noticeable this season.
“Even for me coming back into the Classics again, every year it is just getting crazier and crazier,” Matthews said.
“Cycling now has just turned into more like a boxing match than a bike race.
“It is quite difficult to go out and race your bike now in these Classics when there is just zero respect in the peloton for each other and, it doesn’t matter who you are, someone is going to bomb underneath you in a corner or take you out, or headbutt you, or elbow you or anything.
”Either you can deal with that and race, and do it back, or maybe you can’t so I think maybe this year with COVID-19, it seems to be crazier than other years, that’s for sure.“