Manny Pacquiao shows flashes of youth in dominant performance against Adrien Broner

Anikait Koppaka and William Li

Billed as one of the biggest fights of the year, a Jan. 18 bout featured Adrien Broner facing off against Manny Pacquiao for the WBA welterweight championship at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After 12 grueling rounds, Pacquiao defeated Broner by unanimous decision to retain his title.  


Characterized by a colorful personality, Adrien Broner’s antics now often overshadow his actual fights. Broner was once the most promising prospect in boxing, holding world championships in four different weight classes, but has struggled since his beatdown at the hands of Argentine Marcos Maidana in 2013.

Since that fight he has been 6-2-1, a disappointing stretch considering previous expectations. His ego outside the ring was tolerated when he was winning, but as his performance has worsened, critics have come out to question his behavior out of the ring as a distraction for him and a potential reason for why he has struggled. This fight against Pacquiao is one that Broner needed to win if he ever wanted to be a world champion again and revive his boxing career.

In direct contrast to Broner is Manny Pacquiao, one of boxing’s greatest fighters of all time who is still competing for world titles at 40 years old. His resume speaks for himself; he is a world champion in eight different weight classes and is 61-7-2 over the course of a 24-year career.

There is not much to prove for Pacquiao as a boxer, but there is a question of if he can maintain his level of success at an older age. This fight is important for “Pac-Man” in the sense that he can prove to the doubters that he is still one of the top welterweights and can compete with the new generation of fighters.

With both fighters having a ton at stake, this shaped up to be one of the more interesting fights of the year.

The Fight

The fight began with a typical feeling out process where jabs were thrown and range was established. The first round was quite uneventful with Broner on the defensive, blocking Pacquiao’s punches without throwing counterpunches. Broner would continue being overly defensive throughout the fight.

After the first round, Pacquiao turned it up. He began throwing what he was known for: combination punches. Pacman is known for his quick hands, which he used to dart in and throw quick flurries and then retreat. These flurries broke through Broner’s high guard and caught him occasionally.

In the middle rounds, there were hints of a possible turnaround with Broner landing a couple solid counters, but he did not do enough.

In rounds seven and nine, his flurries were thrown at such a high frequency that Broner appeared to be on the edge of a knockout.

From the first round to the final bell, Broner was dominated and outworked, getting more shots landed on him. He seems to be adhering to his mentor Floyd Mayweather’s style too much by relying on the counterpunch and defense. Manny Pacquiao won via unanimous decision with scorecards of 117-111, 116-112, 116-112.

Post Fight

After the fight, Showtime sportscaster Jim Gray entered the ring to interview both fighters. Pacquiao responded in his typical positive and humble way. Thanking God when asked about his performance in the fight. To end the interview, he thanked his promoters and Showtime.

When Gray approached Broner, Broner immediately met him with an onslaught of expletives. When asked about the fight, Broner confidently stated, “I beat him. Everybody out there knows I beat him.” He attributed his loss to Showtime trying to get a Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch. The aftermath of his ridiculous claim of victory led to countless comments concerning Broner’s ego and delusion.


Pacquiao’s decisive win over Broner could mean many different things. After the fight, Broner exhibited his hubris, which has been constantly cited as his largest problem. Considering the magnitude of this fight and that his reputation was on the line, Broner’s weak performance bodes badly for his future in boxing.

However, for Pacquiao, he was able to prove that he still belongs and that he can still butt heads with boxing’s finest. A fight against other belt holders Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr., Shawn Porter, or Terence Crawford is likely in the cards for Pacquiao in the future. Overall, this fight enforced what we already know: Manny Pacquiao is still one of the best fighters in boxing and Adrien Broner’s attitude is holding him back from success.