Why is Manny Pacquiao still fighting at age 40? What does he have left to prove? Hear the answer from Manny’s camp in Defiant: The Manny Pacquiao Obsession, only on SI TV.
Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner will meet in the ring Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (9 PM, Showtime PPV). Will Pacquiao (60–7–2, 39 KOs), who turned 40 in December, turn in a vintage performance and prevail? Or will Broner (33–3–1, 24 KOs), who is 11 years younger, play the role of spoiler and claim the WBA Welterweight Championship?
To find out those answers—and more—SI.com paneled boxing experts Chris Mannix and Greg Bishop to preview Saturday night's big fight.
(Click here more information on betting odds and how to watch the fight.)
Who is this fight more important for?
Chris Mannix: Broner, easily. Sure, Pacquiao could be pushed into retirement with a loss. But a bad night for Broner could push him into irrelevance. Broner likes to brag about all he has accomplished—world titles in four weight classes, blah blah—but the facts are that he was flawlessly matched early in his career, and every time he has stepped up in competition, he loses. At 29, Broner is running out of chances to prove he is a high–level fighter. For now, Broner remains propped up by his ratings, but if he gets smacked around by a 40-year-old Pacquiao, his popularity could take a crippling hit.
Greg Bishop: Count me among those who don't buy Broner as a truly elite fighter at welterweight. He's never looked that impressive in a bout at 147 pounds. He has a draw and two losses in his last six fights. A win over Pacquiao, even a 40-year-old Pacquiao, would at least keep him in the conversation at welterweight in the immediate future. A loss cements the idea he should have never moved up. What's at stake for Pacquiao here is how long he wants to continue fighting. A win for him makes a bunch of other welterweight bouts possible. But there's nothing left for him to prove, other than that he can still fight at this age at a high level.
Do you want to see the winner fight Floyd Mayweather?
Chris Mannix: No. Hell no. Why is this still a thing? Has boxing created a senior circuit? Mayweather will be 42 next month, and even though he looked as out of shape as we have ever seen him in that sideshow against Japanese kick boxer Tenshin Nasukawa—did anyone else think of that Seinfeld episode where Kramer beats up the kids in the karate dojo while watching that farce?—he’s still too skilled for this version of Pacquiao to beat. There will always be part of me that wonders what would have been in 2009, when Pacquiao was steamrolling through the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto and Mayweather was at the top of his game. But I have no interest in seeing two boxing geriatrics in a money grab. If Mayweather wants a fight, let him meet Terence Crawford. If Paquiao wants a test, Errol Spence could be waiting.
Bishop: As much as I want to say no here, I actually am going to say yes. I will just keep my expectations realistic. Another Mayweather–Pacquiao bout would likely end the same way—Mayweather by decision—but because they're older, and because they've both had layoffs, it's possible something strange could happen. And that would make it worth watching, for me. I'd be less interested in Mayweather–Broner. That would be a soap opera for months. I'm not sure the Internet could handle it.
Who wins: Pacquiao or Broner?
Chris Mannix: I have a hard time seeing a path to victory for Broner. Broner is a counterpuncher, and Pacquiao has had problems with counterpunchers in the past. Mayweather outclassed him and Juan Manuel Marquez gave him fits over four fights. But Broner doesn’t have the skills of Mayweather or the timing of Marquez to catch Pacquiao on the way in. And Broner struggles with volume punchers. When he gets hit with combinations, especially at 147 pounds, he doesn’t hit back with more than one punch. He’s got a great chin, so I don’t think Pacquiao can stop him. But this feels like an 8–4 fight to me, or wider, for Manny Pacquiao.
Bishop: I'm not sure how I feel about the fight itself. I like Pacquiao to win, by decision, but I could see it going the other way. The question is: did Pacquiao's knockout of Lucas Matthysse mean anything? Pacquiao looked impressive but it was hard to tell if that was more because of fortuitous matchmaking or a career resurgence. I just don't buy Broner as a fighter in the same class, so I lean toward Pacquiao, even at 40, because of his speed and ability to pressure a counter-puncher like Broner.