After outboxing Broner, what’s next for Manny Pacquiao?

LAS VEGAS, NV-Make no mistake about it, Manny Pacquiao dismantled Adrien “The Problem” Broner in chunks and pieces during their WBA world welterweight championship bout. And so what does that mean when it comes to the boxing landscape? Could another possible Floyd Mayweather Jr. bout be lurking about in the near future for the 40-year-old Pacquiao?

That is a matter that remains to be seen, although there is plenty of buzz floating around that possibility. What is certain is that Pacquiao whipped the much-younger Broner in winning his 61st (61-7) professional boxing match of his distinguished career. Pacquiao would not make a prediction about the outcome of the fight but said that his experience as a politician prepared him to solve problems.

Throughout his journey back into the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, he remained calm, cool, collected and at many times amused by all the speculation about his age and possible ring rust. After all, the MGM Grand Garden Arena is the place he fought and lost to Floyd in 2015.

“I continue my career as a boxer because boxing is my passion,” Pacquiao said prior to the fight. “When I hung up my gloves once, I felt sad not being in the ring and giving inspiration to people in the Philippines and boxing fans.”

Broner (33-4-1) never let up about his mantra that the belt would belong to him.

“Of course, I consider Manny one of the elite fighters at 147.  The things he’s done in this game are unbelievable. I talk trash, I play but I know on January 19 I have to be on top of my game,” said Broner. “This is his break-out fight to be on the A-side.  I know he isn’t trying to look bad. But I’m here to knock him out. I feel like a bum trying to fight for a sandwich.”

Ultimately, the fight cards were not in Broner’s favor. Judges Tim Cheatham (116-112), Glenn Feldman (116-112) and Dave Moretti (117-111) declared, in a unanimous decision, that 40-year-old Pacquiao would remain the WBA welterweight champion. Broner, 29, won two rounds but started to backpedal and stay out of Pacquaio’s way in the later rounds.  At the end of the fight, Broner ignored the judges’ call and what the world witnessed, insisting he won the fight.

World champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s WBA belt is on the line. Adrien “The Problem” Broner aims to take it to replace his Gucci belt. Photo credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Pacquiao suffered a minor injury to his left eye but Broner’s bruised ego turned out to be the biggest injury suffered in the ring between the two warriors.  Broner, always full of surprises and delivering an unending string of strong, graphic language, managed to extend his 12 rounds of fame when he leaped onto the ropes posing victoriously and declaring his win to the capacity crowd.

In the post-fight press conference, Pacquiao kept it brief and thanked everyone for coming out.

“It’s good to be back in the United States,” Pacquiao said.  In response to a question about a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, Pacquiao responded, “I am a champion and If he [Floyd Mayweather] wants to challenge me, come out of retirement, challenge me and we will fight again.”  Pacquiao said he is open to fighting for a few more years.

Broner stepped up to the mic and said, “I give props to Manny Pacquiao.  If you ask me, I feel like I won the fight but I’m not going to sit here with a sad face.”

Broner took a few questions from the press who questioned why he felt he won.  He responded, “Manny hurt me a couple of times.  I will go back and watch the fight but with my performance, I feel like I won the fight.”  He said he had no intention to take time off and plans to get right back in the ring.

Pacquiao did not blame Broner for believing he won. “Eventually, he [Broner] will review the fight and think about it.”

The bigger question is whether Broner, after reviewing the entire fight as he claimed he would, will apologize to boxing aficionados and just chill until and if there is another opportunity for a chance at any championship belt.  By all accounts, probably not from Pacquaio, ever.

Pacquaio got pass Broner and now his eye is squarely on Mayweather for the revenge bout.  Is it time for a rematch in Manila?

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