Washington D.C. – The first mega fight of the year couldn’t include two more intriguingly opposite opponents. In the red corner, we have a talent that needs no introduction. Just a hair beyond his 40th birthday, he will enter the ring for his 70th professional fight (imagine that). When we look at the life and legacy of Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39KO’s), it’s a very fascinating journey. One that has spanned well over two decades.
Across from him in what could be appropriately dubbed the “blue” corner by the end of the night is a Cincinnati born and bred fighter with a penchant for bravado and bling. Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24KO’s) found a rise to fame by delivering the type of antics that keep us saying his name. Despite his above-average talent, sadly, recent years have seen that name-calling happen for all the wrong reasons.
Every fight has its share of subplots and storylines and this one is no different. Pacquaio’s resume is well chronicled, and it includes every big name of not only the era prior to his (Mosley and De la Hoya), but also the biggest of his own era (Mayweather, Cotto, Margarito), and now, a venture into a few studs contained within the next. Never one to shy away from a challenge, even at this age and stage of his life, Pacquiao remains a huge mission for anyone he may face.
In the case of Broner, a quick scan of his resume is met with a very consistent ebb and flow. Early career victories over Jason Litzau, Antonio DeMarco, and Paulie Malignaggi had most believing we were on the cusp of witnessing potential greatness. The jury is still out on that, and a victory over Pacquiao would certainly propel his eligibility.
A sad reality is that we haven’t seen that “potentially great” version of him surface since that Malignaggi bout. The Malignaggi victory was his first over a pure household name, and the ego born on that night took him down a path that would quickly humble him. After the devastating loss to Argentinean, Marcos Maidana, he would go on to win 6 of his next 8 bouts. However, coming into tomorrow’s showdown, few have noted the fact that he hasn’t had his hand raised in victory since February of 2017. Literally 23 months since he earned a “W”.
How does this help his confidence as he steps in the ring against a known baby-faced assassin? Part of the deception with Pacquiao comes with the generous, forever-smiling, Bible toting demeanor. Truth is, he couldn’t be any more cold-blooded once the bell rings. With a new contract under Al Haymon in which he was “guaranteed big paydays and big opportunities”, fans can expect fireworks. Pacquiao is very knowledgeable of the fact that a loss would be his last hurrah.
For Manny Pacquiao, there’s a ton to gain and even more to lose. Potentially a career. For Broner, there’s even more upside, yet youth will allow him to live to die another day regardless of the outcome. Is this moment grand enough to get Broner to finally walk through the fire down to the wire? Is this strong, counterpunching southpaw too much too late for the aged Manny Pacquiao to conquer? Tomorrow night, questions raised will be questions answered. Until then….we wait! Stay tuned. (Look out for my Final Prediction piece published here tomorrow).
(Vivek “Vito” Wallace can be reached at 954.770.9807, email@example.com, Facebook, Twitter (@vitostake), or viewed on his pending New YouTube Channel)