- It’s remarkable that Manny Pacquiao, at 40, is still able to fight at such a high level. What should we expect next from him?
Three thoughts on Manny Pacquiao’s unanimous decision win over Adrien Broner in Las Vegas on Saturday night …
This went exactly as expected
It’s not often that the outcome of a high-level pay-per-view fight is this easy to predict, but Pacquiao winning a comfortable decision over Broner was as likely as the sun coming up. Pacquiao is a volume puncher. Broner struggles to keep up with volume punchers. Sure enough, over 12 eyelid-drooping rounds Pacquiao threw 568 punches, per ShoStats, landing 112. Broner threw 295—and connected on just 50 of them. The only intrigue was if Broner, a natural counterpuncher, could time and catch Pacquiao coming in, as Juan Manuel Marquez did in 2012.
He could not.
Pacquiao is far from the fighter who terrorized opponents for nearly a decade, but his domination of Broner (one judge scored the fight 117-111, while the other two had it 116-112; SI.com scored the fight 118-110, for Pacquiao) was impressive. Pacquiao looked fast, and he was able to hurt the iron-chinned Broner in the seventh and ninth round, respectively. It’s remarkable that Pacquiao, at 40, after a career filled with wars in the ring, is still able to fight at such a high level.
Broner is delusional
Death, taxes and Adrien Broner thinking he won a fight that he didn’t are among the few certainties in life. Broner raised his hands high after the final bell, climbed the corner ropes and told his trainer, Kevin Cunningham, “they can’t cheat me today.” It was bizarre, even for Broner, who averaged 24.6 punches per round and didn’t land double digit punches in any of the rounds. In a predictably unhinged interview with Jim Gray after the fight, Broner defiantly declared he controlled the fight (he didn’t), insisted the fix was in to set up Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather II (it wasn’t) and promised he could beat up Gray (probably, but Gray is wily). Some of this has to be on Cunningham, who never expressed any urgency in the corner, which likely contributed to Broner’s belief that he was winning the fight.
It’s hard to predict where Broner goes now. He’s a four-division world champion—credentials he throws in the face of anyone who dares question him. But every time he has stepped up in a major fight, he has lost. He can’t beat any of the top fighters at welterweight and he lacks the discipline to make 140 pounds. He’s propped up by his ratings—they have remained remarkably high, which is why Broner was offered the opportunity to fight Pacquiao—but what happens when they fall?
So—anyone for Mayweather-Pacquiao II?
Mayweather watched Pacquiao-Broner from ringside, in his capacity as a co-promoter of the fight. There was a WWE feel to it all, with the expectation that Mayweather would step into the ring after the decision and accept Pacquiao’s longstanding challenge. He may still, but when Pacquiao reiterated his interest in the fight, Mayweather stayed ringside, stone-faced.
Whatever. I’m on record as saying I’d rather light $100 on fire than spend it on a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch. It’s an inconsequential fight, a cash grab, a senior circuit event between two 40-somethings that will likely be as entertaining as the first one. I’d love to see Mayweather return … to fight Terence Crawford, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. I certainly want to see Pacquiao again … against the winner of Errol Spence-Mikey Garcia, scheduled for March. It’s an easily makeable fight if Mayweather wants it; both fighters are advised by Al Haymon and both fight under the Showtime banner now. And undoubtedly, there will be a million-plus pay-per-view buy market for Pacquiao-Mayweather II. I just won’t be one of them.