Pacquaio Ready For What Could Be Last Stand In Vegas

January 17, 2019

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For boxing fans of a certain age, the return of ITV’s Big Fight Live has pushed the nostalgia train out of the station, and now it’s building up a head of steam. Sadly, ITV don’t appear to be bringing back the iconic theme music but elite boxing on free-to-air television will always be a good thing.

The live action got under way last weekend with Jose Uzcategui defending his IBF super-middleweight title against Caleb Plant. In something of an upset, Plant won with a unanimous decision and dedicated the belt to his late daughter.

The contest was an excellent start to ITV’s deal with PBC (Premier Boxing Champions) but the early jewel in this promotional crown is this weekend as Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao takes on Adrien Broner.

Saturday will see Pacquiao enter the professional ring for the 70th time with this fight being his first since turning 40 in December. He is the only man to win titles in eight separate weight divisions and he was the first to win titles in four of the original eight weight classes in boxing, flyweight, featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight.

Pacquiao’s CV is a who’s who of his generation. Down the years he’s fought Marquez, Morales, Barrera, De La Hoya, Hatton, Cotto, plus Shane Mosley, and one of the biggest compliments you can pay him is that Floyd Mayweather waited until Pacquiao’s abilities were on the slide before agreeing to the bout.

As great as he was, the Pac-Man we see today is a shadow of his former self. He has been dogged by (unproven) allegations of doping throughout the second half of his career and there are suggestions that he now fights more out of financial necessity than for a love of the sport.

One thing that can’t be disputed though, is that the politician and one-time semi-pro basketball player is still a huge box office draw. Amir Khan is still desperate to fight Pacquiao and rumours of a second Mayweather fight won’t disappear.

The man in the opposite corner on Saturday has himself placed a huge value on beating the future hall of famer. Adrien Broner’s declaration that beating Pacquiao will make him “the biggest name in boxing” might be a little wide of the mark but the fact that the fight is for a legitimate world title gives it extra importance.

It will be Broner’s first contest since April last year when he finished all square with Jessie Vargas in a majority draw. The Cincinnati native is an enigma and isn’t particularly popular in boxing which when you consider some of the people that fight fans idolise is something of an achievement.

Supremely gifted with an ego that outweighs those gifts, Broner has had legal and health issues outside the ring for most of his career. Once considered to be the next Floyd Mayweather it hasn’t really panned out in a way he might have hoped, living up to his original moniker of ‘The Problem’ but for all the wrong reasons.

Multiple arrests and even jail time have hampered a once promising career. It can be pointed out that Broner is a four-weight world champion, but he’s only boxed for vacant belts and never won a title in the ring. He was at his most dangerous as a lightweight, but the lure of bigger fights and bigger purses saw Broner rise through the weights.

A lack of professionalism often cost Adrien with various weights missed ahead of matches. It mattered in the gym too. Broner idolised Mayweather for a long time but forgot that Floyd’s domination was built on hard work as much, if not more, than talent. Losses to Marcos Maidana, Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia proved that Broner had taken his eye off the ball. It also made people wonder if he was as good as we had all anticipated.

These issues are at the heart of Saturday’s fight. Pacquiao is well past his best and can’t have too many big nights left in his career. On paper Adrien Broner should win but it all comes down to preparation. Has he trained properly, and will he even make weight? We can only go on past performances and it’s hard to place any real faith in these questions being answered positively.

Based on that I’d expect Pacquiao to box his way to a reasonably wide 12 round decision but if Broner is motivated and focussed we could be in for a real scrap. Either way, it’ll be worth watching even it’s just for one of Pacquiao’s last stands.

In other news

  • The organisers of the World Boxing Super Series have overcome some financial troubles to make sure unpaid fighters from the latest round of their competition have been remunerated. The current series will finish in full, but it is uncertain as to whether the promotion will continue beyond this iteration.
  • Amir Khan has surprised the boxing world by announcing that he is to fight pound-for-pound great Terence Crawford at Madison Square Garden in April. It will be for Crawford’s WBO welterweight title.
  • British boxer Liam Smith has switched promoters and joined his brother Callum on Eddie Hearn’s books at Matchroom. Smith was previously working with Frank Warren and unusually the move seems to have been amicable.

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Author: George Ogier

George has been writing about boxing and other sports for over seven years. He has written for various sites including The Mirror, Joe and Boxing Scene. He also runs his own social media management company from West Oxfordshire. When not feverishly staring at his laptop he likes to be ultimately disappointed by Tottenham Hotspur.

Twitter @george_ogier


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