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To beard or not to beard

Broner’s facial hair gaining a lot of attention before the fight—almost as much as the mystery surrounding his weight
/ 05:39 AM January 19, 2019

Manny Pacquiao’s camp is pointing out an issue with Adrien Broner’s beard. —AFP

LAS VEGAS—Is Adrien Broner’s weight going to be an issue when he and Manny Pacquiao step on the scales on Friday for their WBA title bout?

The challenger’s current crankiness certainly seems like it, insiders say.

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Maybe trimming off that thick beard will do the trick.

Broner’s rich facial hair caused quite a ruckus during a press conference for undercard fighters at MGM Grand on Thursday, but not as much as whispers that the challenger may still be facing weight issues going into the official weigh-in.

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Pacquiao’s top aide, Joe Ramos, revealed that the Filipino champion’s corner will seek an opinion from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) on whether or not Broner should shave off his beard for the fight.

But, Ramos pointed out it was not much of an issue: “Manny will fight [Broner] with or without the beard.”

The NSAC didn’t have a specific ruling on beards and instead let its representatives decide whether they give undue advantage to a fighter.

Judging by its thickness and volume, maybe Broner will benefit from chopping the beard off—it could help lower his weight, which continues to be an issue here.

And there’s a general consensus that Broner’s weight woes is the reason why he has been cranky, throwing tantrums all week long.

His camp has refused to say how close the 29-year-old Broner is to meeting the 147-pound weight limit for the WBA welterweight clash on Saturday at MGM Grand.

But talk has continued to resurface with both fighters tipping the scales on Friday afternoon at the hotel’s Garden Arena.

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Broner has missed weight a couple of times before.

In 2012, he was a full three pounds over the 130-lb limit when he faced Vicente Escobedo. Four years later, Broner had to pay Ashley Theophane $50,000 after he weighed in 140.4 lb, four-tenths of a pound over the limit of the lightweight title clash.

“Hey, I only failed to make the weight twice, but I did it on purpose,” said Broner, who on both occasions moved up one division heavier.

Pacquiao isn’t expected to have troubles on the scales.

Since he started fighting at welterweight 10 years ago, Pacquiao, whose natural weight is 140 lb, has had little problem making weight. He is known, in fact, to load up on meals during training camp.

Pacquiao said he would like to climb the ring against Broner weighing at least 145 lb because “I would need the necessary weight on fight night.”

Broner didn’t sport any facial hair during his previous outings against Jessie Vargas and Mikey Garcia.

Boxing expert and orthodontist Ed dela Vega said having facial hair as thick as that of Broner could be problematic for both fighters.

It could affect Pacquiao during close-range exchanges especially if Broner uses too much grease on it.

But it could also be a concern for Broner if he sustains a cut in the chin area. It would be difficult fixing a cut in the area where the hair is thick, Dela Vega said.

Broner’s camp said they would oblige if and when the commission decided that he must get rid of it.

Meantime, an unaffected Pacquiao ran around the UNLV track oval just one day before the official weigh in.

He cut it short to pose for Filipinos who braved the cold desert weather just to see him in person.

“I’m very happy with the way the fans receive me; they are the reason why I’m still fighting—I want to prove to them that I still got it at age 40,” Pacquiao said.

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TAGS: Adrien Broner, Manny Pacquiao, WBA title bout
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