This Saturday night live on Showtime PPV Manny Pacquiao returns to his home-away-from-home, the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao defends his secondary strap against the always colorful, Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner. A potential golden-ticket to fight Floyd Mayweather could be in store for the winner. On paper it seems as though Broner is perfectly made for Pacquiao to look rejuvenated. Age is always a factor. At 40 Manny is close enough to being washed to lose to Broner if he gets old overnight. For the paying customer let’s hope the fight is at the very least entertaining and somewhat competitive.
The ‘Pacman’ returns to fight in America for the first time in over two years. Now at the age of 40 Manny wants to make one more run at the Mayweather rematch and also help younger fighters in the process. Manny’s stable of around 50 fighters is one of the reasons he decided to end his career under Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions’ platform. Haymon offered slots for Pacquiao’s stable to fight as well as getting the Filipino natives tax debt solved quicker.
Al rolled out the red carpet by giving Pacquiao a winnable bout against a named fighter in Broner. The hype for this main event is lackluster, which is no surprise given the early part of the calendar year during the peak of professional football. The overall numbers won’t be as strong but the end result will still have an effect on the boxing casual and possibly hardcore fans. Highlights on ESPN’s Sportscenter and on social media of Pacquiao dominating a known commodity will still attract attention. Will it be enough to convince consumers to buy his next fight, presumably with Floyd? Only time will tell but 4.6 million people bought Mayweather/Pacquiao. If half of those fans purchase the rematch they will be swimming in money.
From the Broner point of view, just the name of Pacquiao, regardless how faded he is, represents a huge opportunity to lift his brand to new heights. Like it or not Adrien is still very popular among casual fans, just one Google search of his TV ratings will tell you all you need to know about moving the needle. Case and point is Broner’s ignorant statement towards Asian people at Wednesday’s presser or cracking an unneeded joke about Freddie Roach’s disease at the opening press conference is just what the doctor ordered for fans to pile on.
Is Broner in tip-top shape and if so will he be able to give Manny a run for the money? It’s difficult to judge Broner’s mental and physical health because he’s cried wolf so many times. How is one supposed to believe in Broner after hearing he’s turned a new leaf once again and is now taking everything seriously? The short answer is we don’t know and won’t until the first bell rings. Friday’s weigh-in will help but we won’t truly know if Adrien is ready to give it his all until we see him throw punches back after a rapid-fire flurry by Pac.
Which brings us to the first key when predicting an outcome or at least making this a 2-way fight, and that is Adrien throwing punches throughout the rounds not just late in desperation. Time after time in big events Broner falls short on not just the scorecards but literally spoiling fights. The Shawn Porter fight in June 2015 was a great matchup and winnable for Broner, but he wasn’t in shape to fight all 12-rounds. Even at times versus Mikey Garcia Broner, for whatever reason, seemed timid to throw meaningful punches until it was too late.
When Broner is in against a B-level opponents, he’s a blast to watch–Adrian Granados, Emmanuel Taylor, Jessie Vargas to an extent, were all fun back and forth action fights. It’s time for Adrien to walk all the talk he’s been spewing for the longest time. Bring back the Broner that wouldn’t give up after being dropped not once but twice by Marcos Maidana. We all know Broner isn’t going to throw 80 or 100 punches per round, not even when he was under 140-pounds. That’s not his style to volume punch, but when he lands flush counters or gets off a flurry of punches generally for 20-30 second spurts each round, he’s a live dog. If Broner truly is in shape like he says he is then Saturday night can be a minor rebirth to his career as long as he leaves it all in the ring.
Pacquiao’s hand and foot speed mixed with angles will be too much for Broner to handle, however. Will Manny take those stupid comments by Broner about Freddie to heart? Let’s hope he does and we get to see a glimpse of the old Manny who smiled on the way into the ring but once the bell rang turned into a Tasmanian devil. Was the knockout of Lucas Matthysee in July just a product of a faded ‘Machine” or maybe a product of no drug testing? The good thing is this Saturday night will get to find out.
Manny will get out of gates fast as he works his jab, right hook, and straight left by using angles to get in and out of range. It will be up to Broner to pick up on Pacman’s offensive rhythm as he attempts to time Manny. If Broner can catch up to Manny’s quick feet with timing and use his own hand speed we could get some prolonged two-way moments. Going down that path assuming Broner does catch up with him look for Adrien to walk forward with a high-guard. Body work for both men would be a great weapon, something that would slow down Manny if Broner finds a home as well as open up Broner’s turtle defense for Pacquiao. Walking Manny down hasn’t bode well in the past and unless Broner repeatedly hurts Pac, coming forward will likely get Adrien dropped.
Once again this hack-of-a-scribe just wants the boy who cries wolf to show up and fight his ass off so the fans get bang for their buck. The only way the Senator loses is if his age shows, combined with Adrien’s youth and focus during this training camp. If Manny does dominate Broner, the Cincinnati native has a pair of whiskers to help him make it to the final bell on his feet.
My Official Prediction is Manny Pacquiao by Unanimous Decision.
Side Note: Be sure to watch the co-feature Badou Jack vs. Marcus Browne on Saturday’s PPV. It will be more competitive then Pacquiao/Broner. Browne is the younger more powerful fighter who would be making a big statement at light heavyweight with a victory. Badou Jack is a consummate pro who doesn’t have eye-catching ability but does everything well, especially his body punching. Also, Rau’shee Warren vs. Nordine Oubaali and Jhack Tepora vs. Hugo Ruiz fill’s the rest of the undercard.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & TheGruelingTruth.Net. Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio