Saturday night marked a night of firsts for both combatants in the main event in Las Vegas. For Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), it would mark his first fight as a 40-year old welterweight champion and also his first fight under the Premier Boxing Championship banner after many years of being promoted by Top Rank under promoter Bob Arum. For challenger Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs), it would mark his first opportunity to headline a Pay-Per-View event. Something that many boxing aficionado envisioned for Broner after becoming one of the youngest fighters to capture titles in 4 divisions. However, in recent years, Broner’s career has been marred by more action outside of the ring than inside of it as he has not won a bout since February 2017 in a controversial split decision against rugged Adrian Granados. Perhaps the Pay-Per-View stage against one of boxing’s biggest stars would be all that was needed to motivate the highly-talented Broner, who was considered the second-coming of Floyd Mayweather Jr. just a few short years ago. Ironically, for the winner of the bout was a rumored fight big enough to lure Mayweather out of retirement.
Round 1 was a traditional feel out round. One of the things you could notice from Broner early on is that he looked to land the left hook over Pacquiao’s right jab as well as using the lead right hand which is an important tool against southpaws such as Pacquiao. Pacquiao was the more active of the 2 fighters in the round. Pacquiao continued to make great use of his jab in round 2, eventually being able to close distance and land a left hook behind it in the round. Broner looked very comfortable in the ring but still did not match the output of the older WBA champion. Round 3 saw Pacquiao close distance on the challenger and unleash a few flurries against Broner while he was on the ropes with nothing significant landing. Broner still appeared reluctant to match the output of Pacquiao who seemed to gain more confidence in the round.
In round 4 Broner looked to counter the champion early. Landing a counter right and a check left hook. Broner did a good job of making Pacquiao miss in the round as it was his most successful round in the early rounds of the fight. Round 5 was intriguing as Broner’s output increased a bit. Pacquiao lunged into many of his shots and Broner looked to counter where he could. It was a very close round that could become pivotal later in the bout. But Broner’s confidence was brewing after the round. Round 6 saw Pacquiao closing distance again. He landed a thunderous left hook to the body of Broner. Pacquiao’s body work was the highlight of the round until Broner landed a right uppercut, left hook combination to end the round.
Pacquiao continued to close the distance between he and Broner in round 7. Although he did not land much early in the round, the output kept Broner off balance. Pacquiao was able to land a left hook that Broner ducked into and was clearly hurt. Pacquiao followed up with more flurries on Broner while he was against the ropes as he tried to tie the champion up. It was Pacquiao’s best round. Round 8 was a little more lackluster than the previous. Broner tried to use more lateral movement but Pacquiao was still able to land body shots and a strong right hook on Broner in the round. The champion seemed to overwhelm Broner in round 9 as it was noted during the telecast that Pacquiao had doubled the output of his challenger. Pacquiao landed a thunderous left that made Broner back against the ropes and followed it up with a few more flurries.
To begin the championship rounds, Broner continued to make use of the full ring and his output increased a bit. He was able to land a strong lead right hand against Pacquiao. It was Broner’s most productive round since early in the fight. Broner still looked to land the left hook over the top of Pacquiao’s jab but was not successful in landing it. Pacquiao continued to go to the body of Broner in the round with the challenger not responding with much in return. The crowd began to boo as Broner did not engage with the Pacquiao and appeared to be trying to survive to see the end of round 12 as opposed to winning the contest. Broner stood right in front of Pacquiao in round 12 surprisingly as he had been on his bicycle for much of the previous round. There was not much action in the final round but with Pacquiao clearly ahead on the scorecards, perhaps he did not want to take many risks although he had hurt his opponent a few times throughout the bout.
The final scorecards read 117-111 and 116-112 from 2 of the judges as Manny Pacquiao cruised to an easy defense of his WBA regular welterweight belt. In the post-fight interview, Pacquiao stated he would still be interested in fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. if he decided to come out of retirement. Broner was very irate during his post-fight interview feeling that he had dominated the fight. With the victory Pacquiao improves to 61-7-2, 39KOs. In undercard action, Nordine Oubaali captured the vacant WBC bantamweight crown over Rau’shee Warren. And in a surprising upset victory, Marcus Browne defeated former 2-division champion Badou Jack to win the interim WBA light heavyweight title.