LAS VEGAS—A colds-stricken Manny Pacquiao overwhelmed a game but overly cautious Adrien Broner on Saturday night (Sunday, PH time) to retain his World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title at MGM Grand Arena here.
But no matter how Pacquiao successfully turned back time by cutting down his opponent with his usual flair, it all became just background noise to that one fight many want to happen for the second time: Against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather tickled the fans by dropping by the 40-year-old Pacquiao’s locker room before he scored the lopsided unanimous decision win over Broner, 29.
Tim Cheatham scored it 116-112, Dave Moretti 117-111 and Glen Feldman 116-112—all in favor of Pacquiao who rose to 61 wins, seven losses and two draws including 39 knockouts.
The 40th KO narrowly escaped him, though.
Pacquiao smashed Broner with a brutal combination in the seventh round, a watershed moment for the flashy Cincinnati native after he unexpectedly tried to engage the champion into action early on.
“My game plan for tonight was counterpunch, but since Broner has the same style, we made a few adjustments,” said Pacquiao during the post-fight press conference.
The senator caught colds just before Friday’s weigh-in, probably after jogging outside the freezing Nevada weather.
Pacquiao, sporting sunglasses inside the ballroom of the MGM Grand Arena, was blowing his nose throughout the presser.
“So I became aggressive,” said Pacquiao who tracked down Broner all 12 rounds, dodging just enough counterpunches from the challenger.
During the latter rounds, Pacquiao said chief trainer Buboy Fernandez cautioned him against Broner’s check hooks and snappy counters.
“I wanted to finish him off but Buboy told me we are ahead on points and I don’t want to be careless. I need to take my time,” added Pacquiao.
Pacquiao won his 24th world title fight and his first in the United States after a similar UD triumph over Jessie Vargas in November 2016.
In the later rounds, Broner used the entire ring space as Pacquiao chased him down, digging to the body.
The American, who has never been knocked down, eluded most of those barrages but in the process, got too preoccupied on defense.
Broner dropped to 33-4-1 but insisted he won.
“See, I wear my shades for fashion man,” said Broner at the same presser. “I ain’t got a mark on me. It was a hell of a fight.”
Pacquiao said he understands where Broner is coming from.
“Maybe he was overwhelmed by the reaction of the fans,” said Pacquiao. “But maybe later when he sees the fight video, he will change his mind.”