Boxing may be a young man’s sport, but Manny Pacquiao plans to show that he still has plenty in the tank when the 40-year-old squares off against Adrien Broner at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas this Saturday.
Pacquiao will be defending his WBA welterweight championship in the fight, a title he won when he defeated Lucas Matthysse by seventh round TKO in July.
Pacquiao Says Mind
and Body Are Still Sharp
The WBA championship is a secondary belt, hardly the kind of
prize associated with Pacquiao throughout his legendary career. But it is a
sign that the eight-division world champion is still a competitive fighter even
against strong competition in the twilight of his career.
Age is just a number,” Pacquiao told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “These days I don’t only train my body but also my mind. I’m a Senator [in the Philippines], so my mind is very busy. I also play chess regularly and read books to keep my mind sharp.”
Nobody can accuse Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) of ducking the competition in his later years. While Broner might not have the stature of legendary opponents like Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, and Floyd Mayweather, he is a four-division champion himself, and represents a clear step up from opponents like Matthysse.
Broner Looks for
But even at 29, some also see Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) as being on the downside of his career. The American was 27-0 through June 2013, when he won the WBA welterweight title. But since then, he has lost three of his last 10 fights, and is coming off a majority decision draw against Jessie Vargas in April.
In boxing circles, Broner is seen as someone who has always come up just short of greatness. His three defeats came against the best opponents he has ever faced, though all of those losses were by decision. A win over the legendary Pacquiao – still one of the best welterweights in the world, even if far past his peak – could go a long way towards changing that perception.
“This win makes me an icon,” Broner said in a prefight press
conference. “It makes me what I always wanted to be, and what everybody always
thought I would be. A win here and I’m a legend overnight.”
Despite his age, Pacquiao comes into the fight as a clear
favorite. At Bovada, the Filipino hero is fetching -325 odds – meaning bettors
must wager $325 to win $100 – while Broner is listed at +250.
Boxers Have Defied Age
Before – For a While
While it may seem questionable for Pacquiao to still be boxing at the age of 40, he’s hardly the only boxing legend to keep fighting well beyond his prime. And while this has sometimes led to embarrassment for aging athletes, others have performed admirably in their later years.
Perhaps the most famous example is that of George Foreman, who won the WBA, IBF, and lineal heavyweight titles by knockout over Michael Moorer in 1994 at the age of 45. He would successfully defend that title four more times, through the age of 48. That made Foreman the oldest major title holder ever – a record that lasted until Bernard Hopkins won the WBC light heavyweight title in May 2011 at age 46.
In the end, though, time always wins. Foreman would end his
career after a majority decision loss to Shannon Briggs in 1997, and while
Hopkins was able to win at least minor world titles through the age of 49, he
lost his final two fights, including a TKO defeat to Joe Smith Jr. at the age
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