Pick: Manny Pacquiao vs. Adrien Broner Fight Analysis
Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) vs. Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs)
When: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Weight Class: Welterweight
Betting Odds: Manny Pacquiao (-290), Adrien Broner (+235)
In welterweight action from Vegas, future Hall of Famer and former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao takes on former champion Adrien Broner on January 19. It’s a high-profile pairing of names, with Pacquiao continuing a career that is now in its 25th year. He will have turned 40 by the night of this fight and has a big-name opponent in his way in the 29-year old Broner. In his last fight, Pacquiao looked pretty good in scoring a TKO win over Lucas Matthysse in July. Broner, however, hasn’t fared well of late. Last time he was in the ring, he looked to be the fortunate recipient of a draw against Jessie Vargas in April.
On some levels, it makes sense to start betting against superstars like Pacquiao at this point in their careers. He looked good in his last fight, but it seemed like the wheels had started coming off in a disputed loss to Jeff Horn in 2017. There was the frightful KO-loss against Marquez in 2012, and he didn’t show up with much fire against Mayweather in a 2015 loss. When people discuss the best in the business at 147 pounds, Pacquiao’s name doesn’t come up very often. There is a feeling that he’s fighting for money at this point, fighting sporadically, while not being totally committed as a fighter.
That might be true to some extent, but he’s still Manny Pacquiao and at the end of the day—talent speaks in this sport. If anything, he has held up remarkably well for a fighter who has in fact declined. He’s not the bankable physical uber-force he once was. His punch resistance might be waning. But since the doo-doo hit the fan against Marquez in 2012, he hasn’t done so badly. The Horn fight was alarming, but he was probably jobbed out of a decision win. He’s still good enough to beat Tim Bradley, give Jessie Vargas a boxing lesson, and completely dominate Matthysse.
I think a lot of people will over-focus on Pacquiao’s condition. But what about Broner? While he is only 29, his decline would seem to be even more-precipitous than Pacquiao. A fighter who seemed destined for the pound-for-pound lists has fallen flat. His last three fights have him barely beating a limited Adrian Granados, losing badly to Mikey Garcia, and drawing with the same Vargas that Pacquiao beat comprehensively. At some point along the way, Broner lost the plot. He thought he had arrived when he still had ground to cover. He was acting like a superstar before he really was one.
By the time he could change it, it was too late. Broner’s performances started suffering, and as he climbed up the ladder, his jive-tactics stopped going over as well. Maidana exposed him, and instead of regrouping, we saw a delusional fighter oblivious to his own predicament. Even with him still getting these big fights against Garcia and Pacquiao, he thinks it reflects how good he is. The opposite is the truth, as his decline is what has kept him as an attractive opponent. But the former A-side is now the decided B-side, and it’s not even clear if he knows it.
Not helping Broner is what appears to be a less-than-Spartan lifestyle outside the ring. There are endless videos of Broner in various states of disarray, with a long rap-sheet to illustrate his lack of devotion to this sport. At this point, we see a fighter that isn’t that formidable, but more a myth and a marketing wonder. His star as a celebrity shines brighter than does his actual merit as a fighter at this point. And it all became clear in losses to Maidana, Porter, and Garcia, along with near-misses against Paul Malignaggi, Granados, and Vargas. He is still defensively-gifted with some punching power, but he’s an incomplete fighter.
Broner is terrific both offensively and defensively up-close, in the pocket. That could serve him well, but Pacquiao is so much more diverse and versatile. I think Pac is still the far-superior athlete, even at 40. He is a fighter who can operate wherever he wishes—outside the pocket, on the move-angularly, and inside if he wants. Pacquiao is still blessed with great legs, bolstered by a mastery of boxing geometry. He knows how to set himself up for offense at an angle, where Broner would be without tools to compete.
You don’t go from being a poor street kid who is barely 100 pounds to an 8-division champion without some serious devotion. And that’s where Pacquiao did the little things that Broner didn’t do. And by taking that long and arduous road that Broner didn’t take, he picked up more tools. He moves instinctively with more moves and options that Broner can call upon. He can strike more suddenly, and he’s faster than Broner. Simply put, he’s better.
I think the types of fighters who give Pac-Man the most trouble now at an advanced stage in his career are the real physical fighters. Broner has some punching power, though it’s diminished since he’s risen up so many weight classes. He’s not a physical or aggressive fighter, however. We saw Jeff Horn giving Manny problems, which would make some think a more-talented Broner could do the same. But Horn was a big welterweight who used roughhousing and his overall physicality to wear on Pacquiao. Broner is more of a finesse guy, and he’ll be trying that with a guy who is a sharper boxer, a more versatile fighter, and a boxer who can excel at any range.
The only thing not making this a total slam-dunk is Pacquiao’s mileage. Never mind his chronological age. It’s more about his odometer—the result of having a world title pedigree that dates back over 2 decades. When you take on the best for over 20 years, it’s a lot of wear and tear. But when that’s what you’re banking on when backing the opponent, it’s a bad testament to the saliency of that position. Manny Pacquiao is a better fighter than Adrien Broner, and the margin is not small. That’s going to be enough in the end. I’m taking Manny Pacquiao.
My Prediction to Win the Fight:
I’m betting on Manny Pacquiao at -290 at . It’s not often you get good value on a fighter with as big a name as Pacquiao, but this might be one of those times. Stylistically, it’s hard to imagine a route to victory for Broner. I see Manny picking him apart en route to an easy win.