Winner of the Jan. 19 welterweight title showdown on Showtime PPV will have serious clout in the stacked 147-pound division.
LOS ANGELES — When Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner met face-to-face for the second time in as many days Tuesday at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, it was exactly what you would expect. Broner spoke in sound bytes for the TMZ crowd, and Pacquiao spoke mostly in platitudes.
Q&A host Jim Gray said hopefully we’ll see two combatants exchange more punches on Jan. 19 on Showtime pay-per-view at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas than they did in words on Tuesday. That seems to be the expectation. Though Broner (33-3-1, 24 knockouts) has fallen short in nearly all his biggest fights, experts consider him a very live dog against what will be a 40-year-old Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) when the two meet.
Broner, a four-division champion, has bounced between 140 and 147 pounds for the last five years and has never been knocked out. He’s been in with two pound-for-pound quality guys in Mikey Garcia and Shawn Porter, losing clear decisions both times. In both defeats, he was criticized for throwing too few punches to win rounds. But Pacquiao represents the biggest name he’s ever been in the ring with, and he knows this is an opportunity he can’t squander.
“They say you’re as good as your last performance and he got eight losses and y’all still praise him to be one of the best ever,” Broner said. “He’s been knocked out three times. I got three good losses. I fought my ass off. After this win, we’re onto bigger and best things.”
“This is really like a dream come true for me,” Broner added. “Right now I got a chance to make money I could only dream of. I gotta take mines.”
This will be Pacquiao’s first fight since signing a deal with Premier Boxing Champions. After years of being in matchups without much appeal against Jeff Horn, Jessie Vargas, and an unnecessary third fight against Timothy Bradley, the welterweight cupboard is open to Pacquiao considering the PBC controls most of the major pieces. Earlier this year, Floyd Mayweather Jr. even dangled the possibility of a rematch, but Pacquiao knows he can’t look past Broner—who is 11 years younger with a chip on his shoulder.
“He’s young and he’s fast – and he’s fast with his mouth,” Pacquiao said with a laugh. “There will be more action in the ring—we know what the people want. It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a fight you will never forget.”
“ This is really like a dream come true for me. Right now I got a chance to make money I could only dream of. I gotta take mines. ” Four-division World Champ Adrien Broner
Broner was asked if he’ll be able to fully enjoy a victory over Pacquiao considering the Filipino fighter’s age.
“In the books, when they say Adrien defeated Manny Pacquiao, they don’t say he’s 40,” Broner said. “So I don’t care about none of that.”
It’s crazy to think about but Broner is only 29-years-old. It seems like he’s been around forever, but that’s because despite whether he’s won or lost, he’s remained in the public consciousness— a lot of times because of his antics outside the ring. But when asked why he got the call over other welterweights in the PBC stable, Broner said it was no coincidence: “Because you’d rather do an interview with Adrien Broner than them other welterweights. … I gotta be the one to sell the fight. His English isn’t that (good). All he do is smile and say one word at a time. So I gotta sell the fight.”
For Pacquiao, the fight marks a return to Las Vegas for the first time in more than two years. “Pacman” has fought in Las Vegas a total of 19 times, including some of the biggest fights in the sport’s history. The fighting Filipino Senator is excited to return, calling it “the boxing capital” of the world. He knows a win could lead to even bigger matchups down the road, and he’s hopeful they’ll be in America.
“This fight is going to be a good fight,” Pacquiao said. “I have to pass through him before fighting Floyd Mayweather. I want to prove to the boxing fans that Manny Pacquiao is still in the pack. You will see more fights with Manny Pacquiao here in the United States.”
For all that Pacquiao has achieved in the sport, it’s no wonder so many were curious what’s brought him back to the ring this time. He’s done everything, including becoming the first eight-division champion in the history of the sport. What does a win over Broner do for his legacy, and what is the reason he’s continuing his career?
“I continue my career as a boxer because boxing is my passion,” Pacquiao said. “When I hung up my gloves once, I felt sad not being in the ring and giving inspiration to people in the Philippines and boxing fans.”
As long as Pacquiao has an entire country behind him, he’s a dangerous man. And Tuesday the press conference was packed with Filipino supporters who cheered his every comment. Broner certainly sounded ready, and seems up for the challenge on Jan. 19.
For a closer look at Pacquiao vs Broner, check out our fight page.