By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
LAST WEEK Filipino boxing icon superstar Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao announced that his next possible fight is in January next year against former world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner of the United States.
Details of the fight are still being finalized but the eight-division world champion said the deal to bring him and Mr. Broner together in the ring in Las Vegas was “90 percent done” and that fans should expect an engaging fight with his secondary welterweight world title on the line.
For fight analyst Nissi Icasiano, for all he brings to the table, Mr. Broner (33-3-1) presents himself as a tailor-made opponent for Mr. Pacquiao (60-7-2) at this stage of the latter’s career.
“At a point in his career wherein he is in his twilight years, Manny Pacquiao is in dire need of a fight that will make him as spectacular as possible. Instead of fighting the best in his weight class which can diminish his sustainable value as a prize fighter, he needs an opponent who is tailor-made to his style, and which will give and leave a lasting impression. If this is Manny’s objective, Adrien Broner is a good choice,” said Mr. Icasiano when asked by BusinessWorld for his thoughts on the Pacquiao-Broner fight being set up.
“The projected fight between Pacquiao and Broner will stir interest as people clamor for a follow-up after the Filipino superstar managed to draw shades of his vintage form in his most recent bout against Lucas Matthysse. Conversely, Adrien Broner’s personality is bankable. Broner’s arrogant bravado against Manny’s humble image makes a good story line,” he added.
Mr. Pacquiao, 39, is coming off an impressive seventh-round technical knockout win over Argentinian Matthysse in July in Malaysia to win the World Boxing Association welterweight title.
On the other end, Mr. Broner, 29, a four-division world champion, drew with Jessie Vargas in April and before that lost to Mikey Garcia.
Style-wise, Mr. Icasiano said Pacquiao-Broner is very intriguing for the contrast it has.
“The fight itself draws intrigue because they have contrasting styles. Broner is clearly the flashy boxer, with some observers branding him as the toned-down version of Floyd Mayweather. Meanwhile, we all know Pacquiao has a relentless approach in the ring. It will be very interesting to witness how this bout will unfold,” the analyst said.
The possible January fight is being touted as a prelude to Pacquiao-Mayweather 2, which Mr. Icasiano said is highly likely but said he would rather focus first on Pacquiao-Broner before putting much weight on the reengagement of the two boxing legends.
“It can be said that Manny’s match against Broner is a prelude to the Mayweather rematch. Floyd and Manny are both businessmen. It is very likely that they will allow it to brew before they finally go for it,” he said.
If the Pacquiao-Broner fight pushes through in Las Vegas, it will mark the first time in two years that the Filipino legend will be fighting there.
The last time Mr. Pacquiao fought in Las Vegas was in November 2016 at the Thomas & Mack Center where he beat Mr. Vargas by unanimous decision that reclaimed for him the World Boxing Organization welterweight title.
By Michael Angelo S. Murillo