Enough with the imitator, Manny Pacquiao seemed to say in his convincing victory over Adrien Broner on Saturday night at MGM Grand.
Bring on the real thing: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“Tell him to come back in the ring and we will fight,” Pacquiao said in the ring. “I’m willing to fight Floyd Mayweather again if he’s willing to come back.”
When Showtime’s ringside interviewer Jim Gray asked Mayweather if he will meet that challenge, Mayweather offered no reply.
Pacquiao (61-7-2) was happy to let his fists do all the talking.
In an impressive display in which he proved to be the faster and more powerful puncher than a foe 11 years his junior, he retained his World Boxing Assn. secondary welterweight belt with judges delivering him a unanimous-decision triumph in front of a sellout crowd of 13,025. The scores were 117-112, 116-112 and 116-112 for Pacquiao in his first fight as a 40-year-old.
With the retired Mayweather watching his protégé Broner (33-4-1) from ringside, Pacquiao, in his 70th pro fight, kept the former four-division champion backpedaling, pounding him with body shots and flurries that hurt Broner, especially in the seventh and ninth rounds.
Mayweather, who retired 50-0, defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision in 2015, the richest one-day sporting event in history that was spoiled by inactivity while Pacquiao tried to fight with a torn right rotator cuff that later required surgery.
During Saturday’s fight, Mayweather said to Gray, “You keep asking me about Manny Pacquiao. He needs to get past Adrien Broner first.”
Well, Broner never landed more than seven punches in a round and finished with a total of 50 punches landed as his reliance on counter-punching went badly awry. He landed only one punch in the 12th round of a bout he was badly trailing.
In his first U.S. fight since 2016, Pacquiao eagerly met Broner in the center of the ring to start the fight and landed punches to the face and body, setting the challenger on his heels.
A Pacquiao left to the head and a combination against the ropes brought Broner to hold in the third. He then backed Broner to the ropes with two lefts.
Hard left hands by Pacquiao came in the seventh, when a hard left uppercut hurt Broner, and he reeled during a battering of two flurries, eliciting chants of “Man-ny!”
A hard left to the chin in the ninth sent Broner wobbling backward across the ring, and he was pounded by another big left delivered in Pacquiao’s corner.
“At the age of 40, I can still give my best,” Pacquiao said. “The Manny Pacquiao journey will still continue.”
Afterward, Broner climbed to a neutral corner to stand as if he would get the judges’ nod. When the scores were read, he said, “You know I beat that boy. They are trying to get that money with Pacquiao and Floyd.”
When the cameras were off Mayweather, he looked up to the ring and saw the president of his promotional company, Leonard Ellerbe, who sent him a thumbs up and a slight smile to Mayweather, who nodded.
On the undercard, Marcus Browne (23-0) became the new WBA light-heavyweight world champion, beating Badou Jack by unanimous-decision scores of 117-110, 116-111 and 119-108.
Confronting the power punches of Browne was one thing. When an accidental head butt opened a gash of more than an inch on his forehead, Jack had no chance.
“He’s a real tough competitor, but I came to shake,” Browne said.
Jack (22-2-3) was immediately transported to a local hospital after losing the fight and blood from the cut that was opened in the seventh round.
“I was too slick, too sharp today,” Browne said. “He was coming with his head all night … I was telling Tony [Weeks, referee], ‘Watch his head.’ That’s what he gets.”
France’s Nordine Oubaali, fighting for the World Boxing Council bantamweight belt, beat three-time U.S. Olympian Rau’Shee Warren by unanimous decision, by scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111.