Adrien Broner was full of quips and questionable comments as usual during the buildup to his fight against Manny Pacquiao on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden.
But he didn’t have many answers once the bell rang to start the bout in front of a sold-out crowd of 13,025.
Pacquiao retained the WBA welterweight title with a 117-111, 116-112, 116-112 unanimous decision. The Review-Journal scored the bout 119-109 for Pacquiao.
Broner might have been the only person in the building who disagreed.
“I beat him,” he screamed during a postfight interview in the ring. “Everybody out there knows I beat him.”
It was one of his most aggressive moments of the night.
Pacquiao (61-7-2) spent the first few rounds finding his range and landing body shots to wear down Broner (33-4-1).
He landed big shots to stagger Broner, who never has been knocked out in his professional career, but couldn’t seal the deal despite his best efforts with sustained flurries against the ropes in the seventh and ninth rounds as Broner covered up and survived.
“I wanted to push more, but my trainer said don’t be careless,” Pacquiao said. “Wait for him, counter, and that’s what I did. I’m so happy because God gave me this good health. At the age of 40, I can still give my best. Although I wanted to be aggressive more, my camp told me don’t be careless and to counter him and wait for opportunities.”
It was the second consecutive win and fourth in five fights for Pacquiao since losing to Floyd Mayweather in May 2015. There has been speculation about a rematch, which Pacquiao didn’t shy away from after his victory.
“Tell (Mayweather) to come back to the ring and we will fight,” Pacquiao said. “I’m willing to fight Floyd Mayweather again if he’s willing to come back to boxing.”
The technically retired Mayweather sat stoic as the camera panned to him in the arena after Pacquiao’s comments, but he addressed the speculation when he was interviewed during the TV broadcast.
“You keep asking me about Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather said in a quick interview during the sixth round. “He needs to get past Adrien Broner first. And right now I’m living a happy and healthy life.”
If another fight with Mayweather is on the horizon, Pacquiao should be confident after a strong performance in his first bout since turning 40.
Broner, more than a decade younger, tried to get physical early in the fight. He would wrap up Pacquiao each time he tried to come forward and did a good job mitigating the damage in the first round despite not throwing many punches.
It was a difficult strategy to maintain, as Pacquiao started to get home with his attacks in the second round and took control of the fight.
Broner had his moments, but he couldn’t sustain any offense. He had some success in the fourth round and closed the sixth with a big flurry that prompted him to dance as the bell sounded, even though Pacquiao had won most of the round.
He also used his forearm to shove Pacquiao’s head back on a break and appeared to go for a single-leg takedown late in the fight.
Broner landed only 50 punches and was outhit 82-39 in power punches. Pacquiao landed 112 punches but connected on only 20 percent
Also on the card, Marcus Browne won the WBA interim and WBC silver light heavyweight belts with a unanimous decision over Las Vegan Badou Jack.
Browne (23-0) took control early and never let Jack establish his offense, but the biggest damage was done on a vicious headbutt in the seventh round that opened a massive cut down the middle of Jack’s forehead.
“He couldn’t find me before that (headbutt),” Browne said. “He couldn’t find me. I was just too sharp, too slick, too anything. He was coming with his head all night. He kept coming with his head. That’s what he gets.”
Jack (22-2-3) was taken to a hospital after the fight.