LAS VEGAS (AFP) - Manny Pacquiao proved that age is no obstacle on Saturday with a 12-round demolition of Adrien Broner, defending his welterweight title in his first fight on US soil in two years.
Pacquiao easily won with an impressive display of superior hand speed and destructive power that landed him a unanimous decision victory over the much younger American at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
The Filipino star almost knocked Broner down twice in the seventh and ninth rounds and showed that he can still be a force in the highly-competitive division despite turning 40 last month.
“I really don’t believe my career is over. I proved it in my last fight against (Lucas) Matthysee,” Pacquiao said. “And now I prove it again at the age of 40.”
In his 70th fight as a professional, Pacquiao retains the lesser version of the WBA’s two welterweight belts and possibly sets the stage for a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, who watched the bout from ringside.
Pacquiao improved to 61-7-2 with 39 knockouts, winning on all three judges’ scorecards, including by one tally of 117-111. The other two judges also had it one-sided at 116-112.
Pacquiao started the onslaught in the seventh round by hitting his 29-year-old Broner with a left hook then immediately doubling it up.
Broner went into a shell mode, absorbing more blows but managed to hold on to the end of the round.
Pacquiao landed his best punch in the ninth with a blistering left on the chin that sent Broner back peddling towards the ropes. But Broner showed he can take a punch as he stayed on his feet and survived another punishing round.
Pacquiao is now hoping to avenge his 2015 loss to Mayweather which became the richest one-day sporting event in history.
Immediately after the fight Pacquiao called out Mayweather.
“Tell him to come back to the ring and we will fight,” Pacquiao said. “I am willing to fight again Floyd Mayweather. If he is willing to come back in boxing.”
Mayweather, who helped promote Saturday’s boxing card, was non-committal when asked if he would get back in the ring with Pacquiao.
“Right now I am living the happy life,” he said.
Pacquiao went to work from the opening bell on executing the fight plan he put together after reuniting with his long-time trainer Freddie Roach.
He was the more active of the two boxers and it didn’t take long for Broner to get frustrated with Pacquiao’s speed as Broner delivered a right forearm shiver to his opponent’s jaw at the end of the second round.
Pacquiao did a good job of setting up solid head and body shots with well-timed head fakes and jabs. His most effective punch in the early rounds on was a body shot then a left hook to the face as Broner ducked down to protect his midsection.
Pacquiao had a good sixth round but got caught at the end with an uppercut and left hook on the chin — though even that wasn’t enough for Broner to win the round.
Broner simply flailed away for most of the fight with a slapping jab that never seemed to connect.
Pacquiao’s best rounds were seven through nine but the only blemish on his night was he couldn’t get his second knockout in a row.
“At the age of 40 I can still give my best,” he said. “I wanted to be more aggressive but my coach told me to counter and wait for opportunities.”