Manny Pacquiao proved that age is only a number by outclassing Adrien Broner to take a unanimous points win in Las Vegas.
‘Pac-Man’s first fight as a 40-year-old, and 70th as a professional, saw him roll back the years in flashes on the way to retaining his WBA world welterweight title and wow the MGM Grand crowd once again.
The scores of 117-111, 116-112, 116-112 might not have mirrored Pacquiao’s dominance and Broner’s typically cautious approach but with trainer Freddie Roach back in the team, he showed he is still one of the biggest draws and names in the game.
Pacquiao might have slowed down with time but his jab and fast hands saw him control the 24th world title fight of a career that will take him into the Hall of Fame, but he is far from finished.
Floyd Mayweather was co-promoting and sat ringside and even if at 42, he does get back into the ring to take on his old foe again, he will give ‘Pac-Man’ more problems than Broner managed.
Pacquiao, with the MGM crowd firmly behind him, came flying out of the traps behind his jab and straight right and even if over-eagerness saw his biggest shots miss, the eight-weight winner took the first three rounds in a familiar style.
Broner looked comfortable on the back foot and has never been one to force the pace, but his smart right counter caught the older man a couple of times in a quieter fourth round. The fifth began with the sold-out arena chanting ‘Manny, Manny’ and ended with his jab still on full cylinder.
Plenty thought age would catch up with Pacquiao in the second half of the fight and a lovely uppercut from Broner was a timely warning in the sixth, but rather than fade, the Filipino phenomenon exploded back into life in a sensational seventh.
A hard straight left caught Broner cold and a familiar flourish of punches saw Pacquiao trap him in the corner, not once but twice, ‘The Problem’ unable to duck and dodge his way to safety
Pacquiao eased off in the eighth but peaked again in the ninth. A left lead to the body and then another hard straight left triggered a repeat performance, Broner again pinned in a corner under furious pressure and even when he did escape, the American was wobbled back with a big left hook.
The closing rounds were never going to be as frenetic as that, with Pacquiao perhaps realising he doesn’t need a knockout win to keep fight fans on his side, but he still landed more punches and pressed forward constantly.
Broner’s best round might have been the 11th, but even though he clearly needed a stoppage to avoid three straight fights without a win, he barely threatened. Pacquiao, in contrast, kept up the pace, but kept calm and calculating as he counted down to arguably his biggest and best victory for a few years.