Manny Pacquiao Looking to Prove Age is Irrelevant in Title Fight Against Adrien Broner
WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao will defend his belt against the formidable Adrien Broner this weekend in Las Vegas.
Updated: Jan. 17, 2019 • 8:56 AM ET
Manny Pacquiao is one of the most popular boxers of this generation.
It will be a big night for boxing on Saturday, as the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas will host four title fights. On the action-packed night, the main event will feature fight legend Manny Pacquiao, who will defend his WBA welterweight title against Adrien Broner on Showtime pay-per-view.
Pacquiao will defend the belt for the first time since claiming the title with a TKO of Lucas Matthysse in July. The win was a great rebound for the Filipino legend after losing a controversial decision and the WBO welterweight title to Jeff Horn in July 2017.
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) is widely considered one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all time. He’s the first and only eight-division world champion, winning 11 major world titles in the process, and has defeated some of boxing’s best fighters ever. He owns victories over Jessie Vargas, Timothy Bradley Jr. (twice), Chris Algieri, Brandon Rios, Juan Manuel Marquez (twice), Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Marco Antonio Barrera (twice), Erik Morales (twice) and David Diaz.
At 40 years old, Pacquiao is one of the oldest active boxers in the sport. Nevertheless, he’s still as dangerous as ever, proven in the Matthysse fight. Pacquiao doesn’t intend to slow down on Saturday.
"I am not making a prediction, but my goal is to knock out Broner," Pacquiao said via ESPN. "I am looking for a knockout against Broner. I have to maximize the opportunity. I forgot how much fun winning a fight by knockout was until I stopped Lucas Matthysse last summer to win the WBA (secondary) welterweight title.
"It felt great to win that way and the fans loved it too, so why not try for it again? I have nothing personal against Adrien Broner. This fight is strictly business. He is fun. He makes me laugh. He knows how to sell himself and to sell a fight."
Pacquiao is the most revered athlete and celebrity in the Philippines and carries the weight of the entire nation on his shoulders with every fight. He’s also a senator in the Philippines and a potential candidate for the 2022 Philippine presidential election. He has always related to the less fortunate in his country and tries to make a difference.
“This fight means a lot,” Pacquiao said via Bad Left Hook. “It’s my first fight at the age of 40, so I’m excited to give my best and show the world what I can still do. Boxing is my passion, and public service is my mission. I love to bring honor to my country.”
Broner is a former four-weight champion, having previously held the WBO junior lightweight title, WBC lightweight title, WBA light welterweight title and WBA welterweight title. The 29-year-old from Cincinnati has the chance to once again become a champion by taking down a living legend, but his critics say he falls short in big moments.
Coming off a majority draw against Jessie Vargas in April, Broner can silence the falling short in big moments narrative on Saturday. He definitely feels he has something to prove in Las Vegas.
“Every fighter is different, but I know if I touch him flush, I’ll put him out,” Broner said via Bad Left Hook. “It’s no secret, he’s been to sleep before. I’m in shape and ready to go.
“We had a tremendous training camp. I could have made weight weeks ago. We’re prepared to go out and execute. I’ve been here before, and even though I haven’t been in a fight of exactly this magnitude, I’m just treating it like any other fight. He’s another opponent.
“A lot of people are saying that Pacquiao’s age will be a factor, but I’m not looking at it like that. You see guys like Floyd Mayweather, who stay undefeated at an older age. I’m just focused on being me. As long as I do what I have to do, I will be victorious.
“We’re ready for whatever this fight is going to end up being. It could definitely be a war. I’ve always been an underdog. I came from the trenches and I’m bringing that mentality into the ring.
“I can take over boxing with a win over Pacquiao. There are a lot of great fighters in this sport, but they just don’t bring what I bring to the table. With a win like this, it would put me right where I was always meant to be. I’ve always wanted to fight the big names like this and I knew that I just had to keep working hard and the time would come.
“Once that bell rings, I’ll make my adjustments and go ahead and get my victory. I don’t have anything I want to go out and prove. It’s just about winning. That will say everything.”
Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) has key victories over John Molina Jr., Emmanuel Taylor, Carlos Molina, Paul Malignaggi and Gavin Rees. Pacquiao would without a doubt represent the biggest win of his career, should he find a way to defeat the champion on Saturday.
Saturday’s co-main event will be for the vacant interim WBA light heavyweight title, as former two-weight world champion Badou Jack will take on undefeated Marcus Browne.
Jack (22-1-3, 13 KOs) is coming off a majority draw in a title fight against then champion Adonis Stevenson in May. The result marked his second draw in his last three fights, as he was unable to claim victory against James DeGale two years ago. Yet, the 35-year-old Swedish fighter has key victories over Nathan Cleverly, George Groves and Anthony Dirrell.
Jack knows what he’s up against on Saturday.
“It’s going to be good fight,” Jack said via Bad Left Hook. “The young hungry guys have got something to prove. I’ve been there, been battle tested because I fought the best.
“I don’t have to brag about what I’ve done. This is the best guy available and we’re going to have some fun. It might look easy from the outside. Well, it’s a little different when you step up to world-class in the competition.”
Browne (22-0, 16 KOs) will enter the fight with a chance to win his first major title, and he’s ready to prove to the world that he’s a champion.
“I’m ready to take care of business,” Browne said. “I know he knows what’s coming to him. And I really haven’t got too much to say. I’m going to let my hands do the talking.
“I’m not huge braggadocios kind of guy. Neither is he, from what it looks like. It was one of the easiest fights to be made in the division and I appreciate you (Jack) for signing the contract and being a man and stepping up. Come January 19, you got hell coming. You’ve got fury. You’ve got everything coming to you. This ain’t no Anthony Dirrell. This ain’t no washed up George Groves that got beat up by Carl Froch twice. This ain’t no old Adonis Stevenson. This ain’t no Nathan Cleverly. This is Marcus Browne, my brother. So make sure you’re ready because I know I’m ready.”
The 28-year-old Browne is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Lenin Castillo in August. The decision ended the Staten Island, N.Y. native’s three-fight knockout streak, but Browne once again proved he has what it takes to out-work his opponents. A victory over Jack would represent the biggest of his career.
Also on the card
A third title fight will be featured on Saturday’s card, featuring undefeated Nordine Oubaali and former WBA and IBO bantamweight champion Rau'shee Warren for the vacant WBC bantamweight title. The two previously fought each other in the second round of the 2012 Summer Olympics, where Oubaali won by a narrow decision.
Oubaali (14-0, 11 KOs) is coming off a knockout victory over Luis Melendez in April, his fifth straight finish. The 32-year-old Frenchman will fight for his first major title on Saturday, while it will also be his first bout in the United States.
The pressure will certainly be on Oubaali, who has to travel to unfamiliar territory to face a familiar foe, but he’s ready to finally fight for a title.
“I am the current WBC No. 1 ranked fighter in the world and have been waiting for my opportunity for quite some time now,” Oubaali said via The Ring. “On January 19, the day has finally come and I am ready to take that world championship to France.”
The 31-year-old Warren (16-2, 4 KOs) is riding two straight victories since losing his titles to Zhanat Zhakiyanov by split-decision in 2017. The Cincinnati native and Broner teammate is ready to become a champion once again.
“I fought this guy in the Olympics, so I’m fighting for revenge,” Warren said via Boxing Scene. “This isn’t the Olympics. This is 12 rounds, and I don’t think he’s fought anybody like me. I have no choice but to put it all on the line on January 19.”
Warren continued, “This fight means everything for me and it’s about to be the biggest moment of my career. Not only am I fighting for the WBC belt, but it’s on pay-per-view. When I first won the title, it was like winning the gold medal at the Olympics. After I lost the title, it made me much hungrier and I want to get it back even more.”
Warren’s two losses both came by close split-decisions. A win against a fighter who is undefeated and has feared punching power would solidify his position as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the bantamweight division.
The main card will offer a fourth title fight, as undefeated WBA interim featherweight champion Jhack Tepora will defend his title against former champion Hugo Ruiz.
Tepora (22-0, 17 KOs) claimed the title by defeating Edivaldo Ortega by TKO in July, marking his sixth straight knockout. The 25-year-old Filipino fighter will make his United States debut on Saturday and has looked great against his competition in his young career. However, he’ll face a fighter more powerful than his previous opponents in Ruiz.
Ruiz is riding a two-fight winning streak and has made a bold prediction.
“I don’t think he can handle my power,” Ruiz said via Boxing Scene. “I’m going to knock him out. I want to do my best to win the title.
“I’ve been watching videos of him and I’ve been training hard. I’m really focused on how to beat him. I’m still young, but I’ve got the experience to handle him in this fight.”
Ruiz is the former WBA bantamweight champion and defended the belt four times before losing a split-decision to Koki Kameda in 2012. The 30-year-old Mexican fighter then won the WBC super-bantamweight title with a TKO of Julio Ceja in 2016, but he lost the belt in his next fight to Hozumi Hasegawa. If he wants to win his third title, he’ll have to use his power early against the younger and quicker Tepora.
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