Las Vegas: Manny Pacquiao showed Saturday night he’s still got plenty of fight for a fighter on the wrong side of 40.
Whether Pacquiao’s dominating win over Adrien Broner gets him a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, though, is a question that will have to be answered another night.
With Mayweather watching from ringside, Pacquiao showed flashes of his old speed in winning a unanimous 12-round decision over Broner to easily defend his piece of the welterweight title. It was the 61st win of a remarkable career in which Pacquiao has won titles in eight weight classes.
And it put to rest any thoughts of retirement after 24 years as a pro.
“The Manny Pacquiao journey will still continue,” Pacquiao said.
Fighting for the first time at the age of 40, the senator from the Philippines won a lopsided decision that was never in doubt before a crowd that roared at every punch he landed. The decision was never in doubt, but Pacquiao pressed the fight into the later rounds as he tried unsuccessfully to score a knockout.
Two judges favoured Pacquiao by a 116-112 score, while the third had it 117-111. The AP scored it a shutout 120-108 for Pacquiao.
There were no knockdowns, but Pacquiao landed the heavier punches - and lots of them. He caught Broner in the seventh and ninth rounds with big left hands that sent him backward, while Broner spent most of the fight looking for one big counter that never came.
“At the age of 40, I can still give my best,” Pacquiao said. “ Although I wanted to be aggressive more, my camp told me don’t be careless and to counter him and wait for opportunities. “
Both fighters were cautious late, as the fight slowed in the final two rounds.
Pacquiao, whose pro career stretches back 24 years, showed he still has the speed that carried him over his spectacular career. He also displayed some power, though he was never able to drop Broner.
Pacquiao was clearly the favourite of the crowd of 13,025, who gathered at the MGM Grand arena to see if the part-time fighter still had some fight in him. Turned out Pacquiao did, and then some as he pushed the attack against Broner.
Pacquiao was the aggressor from the opening bell, and he had to be because Broner threw only occasional punches in the opening rounds. Pacquiao attacked at will, winning round after round before the fight started to heat up in the middle rounds.
Broner, meanwhile, fought like he was merely trying to survive, despite being 11 years younger than his opponent. He was booed loudly as he raised his hands in victory and jumped on the corner ropes as if he had won.
“I beat him, everybody out there knows I beat him,” Broner said. “I clearly won the last seven rounds.”
Mayweather watched it all intently from his ringside seat, and was coy about possibly coming out of retirement for a reprise of the 2015 lackluster fight Mayweather won by decision over Pacquiao.
“You keep asking me about Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather said during the fight. “He needs to get past Adrien Broner first. And right now I’m living a happy and healthy life.”
Showtime announcer Jim Gray tried to get Mayweather to climb in the ring after the fight and discuss a possible bout with Pacquiao, but Mayweather demurred. It was the first fight in the US in two years for Pacquiao, who reunited with trainer Freddie Roach for a bout that would determine how much he had left at the age of 40.