In a totally underwhelming contest in which Adrien Broner, as expected, fought nearly the entire match backing up, Manny Pacquiao aggressively took the fight to his opponent and won with room to spare. True to form, Pac attacked and Broner, as is his style when under pressure, backed up and stopped punching. Broner did sneak in an occasional right and left hook, but these were single shots when he was able to find an opening. But Manny was dominant with a consistent jab followed up with combinations and well-placed body shots that resonated loudly through my TV speakers. By round nine, Broner had landed only 23% of his power punches and couldn’t close the distance.
Emblematic of the way Broner fought, his corner told him before the final round: “Your movement is great, man, but you have to land some punches . . . ‘ya gotta put hands with that movement!” Paulie Malignaggi said it best: “Broner stayed defensive and was not getting off to win rounds.”
Pac, by comparison, was steady in his aggressiveness and got off, stepping to Broner, leading with a stiff jab consistently, that kept Broner both off balance and opened him up for heavy rights and lefts. While Pac had a mouse under his eye at the end, Paulie Malignaggi correctly pointed out that the swelling was “from inconsistent rights Broner threw in single shots.” That was Broner’s fight the entire fight, inconsistent punching, thrown in single shots, mostly backing up, smothering Manny in bear hugs when all else failed, to keep from being hit more.
The way is cleared, if the fight is to be made, for MayPac II to go forward. If this fight between Pac and Broner was some sort of qualifier, as some, including Mayweather, seemed to make it, there is no question, but that Pac is ready to do it again. He proved it by whipping “The Problem’s” ass from bell to bell, taking eleven of twelve rounds on my scorecard. The Showtime talking heads and I agree that the judges, in scoring the fight a unanimous decision, were “extremely generous” to Broner. In fact, it was a rout. Pacquiao hurt Broner seriously in both the seventh and ninth rounds, but the referee was allowing Broner to hold and wrestle to avoid getting stopped.
At the final bell, Broner in typical style, jumped on a turnbuckle and raised his arms as if he had won, only to be met with a chorus of boos that sounded like the entire stadium audience was booing him. From there it got worse. In an utterly classless, insulting and delusional tirade expressed in a style worthy of the sitting U.S. President, Broner screamed at Jim Gray such profound statements as: “I won the MF’in fight! I was robbed! They’re against me! You’re against me! I beat that boy, you know it! I controlled the fight!” Classy stuff. Gray countered with the fact that eight punches were the most Broner landed in any single round. These were the rantings of a boxer whose career trajectory is on the descendant.
Pacquiao, in contrast, still has it. While I had hoped he might retire, he made clear that he wants to keep campaigning. When asked if he thought his career was over, he confidently looked into the camera and said, “I beat (Lucas) Matthyse and Broner. My fight career journey still continues…” He then called out Floyd, who was sitting ringside, but “Money” didn’t respond. Pac has also indicated he would like to face the winner of the Erroll Spence vs Mikey Garcia fight. If the man wants to continue, he’s proven he can.
Pacquiao is still the WBA welterweight champ. At 40 years old, this was his 61st victory in his 70th pro fight, as, according to the Showtime talking heads, “(Pac) returns to America a conquering champ . . .” No one can make Manny quit and this exceptional champion whose journey we as fans are privileged to witness will fight again, no doubt. And we’ll be watching. — Ralph M. Semien