Those Manny Pacquiao retirement plans will have to wait. And not even turning 40 last month convinces Pacquiao that the post-fighting career is ready for takeoff.
Instead, Pacquiao began a new phase of age defiance late Saturday in Las Vegas. The eight-division world champion outclassed Adrien Broner with volume punching to retain his World Boxing Association welterweight title in a convincing unanimous decision victory.
“I can still give my best at age 40,” Pacquiao said in a post-fight press conference. “At the age 40, our strategy and training is still the same but we made a little adjustment for the preparation, especially body recovery.”
Pacquiao (61-7-2) set a successful pace throughout the 12-round distance. The Philippines native scored with lead lefts to the head and body. And on occasion, Pacquiao pressed the action, especially in the seventh and ninth rounds, when he pinned Broner on the ropes and landed a flurry of combinations to the head.
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Pacquiao’s strategy was punctuated in the judges’ scorecards. Dave Moretti scored the fight for Pacquiao, 117-111, while Glenn Feldman and Tim Cheatham both had him winning, 116-112.
“I wanted to push more but (trainer) Buboy (Fernandez) told me ‘not to rush, we’re ahead on points, don’t be careless, he’s waiting for you with a counterpunch,” Pacquiao said. “Be aggressive and don’t be careless. That’s what we did for this fight.”
Pacquiao also benefited from Broner’s inactivity. Pacquiao threw 568 punches and landed 112 compared to Broner’s 295 thrown punches and 50 connected.
Despite the wide disparity in punches, the trash-talking Broner (33-4-1) believed he won the fight.
“I’m not here to go crazy,” Broner said. “My performance tonight talked for me. If you ask me, I feel like I won the fight. I’m all right. I’ll be back and I’ll be champion again.”
In the prelude to and following the fight, Broner complained how he was considered a steppingstone for a rematch between Pacquiao and the retired Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather, who attended Saturday’s bout and defeated Pacquiao three years ago, said he is not planning a ring return.
“I’m still active,” Pacquiao said when asked what message he would forward to Mayweather. “If you want to get back to the ring and challenge me, we’ll fight again.”
If he doesn’t land a rematch with Mayweather, Pacquiao has multiple fight options now that he has joined Premier Boxing Champions, the company overseen by influential advisor Al Haymon. For Pacquiao, possible opponents include fellow welterweight titleholders Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter, former champion Keith Thurman and contender Danny Garcia, all of whom fight under the Premier Boxing Champions banner.
“I am just waiting for who will challenge me,” Pacquiao said. “Whatever my promoter gives me I will fight. It’s my promoter’s job to find my opponent.”
Miami resident and heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz maintains a busy pace in his quest for a second title fight. Ortiz will face Christian Hammer March 2 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Ortiz has fought twice since a hard-fought 10th-round TKO loss against heavyweight champion Wilder last March. The native of Cuba scored knockout wins over Razyan Cojanu and Travis Kaufmann.
“Christian Hammer is a very good fighter and I will be prepared for the best he has to offer,” Ortiz.
The Ortiz-Hammer bout is part of a card that will feature Ortiz’s compatriot, Erislandy Lara, in a super-welterweight title fight. Lara, in his first appearance since losing his super-welterweight belt last April, will face Brian Castano.
Saturday (8 p.m., Fox-Ch. 7): Keith Thurman vs. Josesito Lopez, 12, welterweights.
Saturday (9 p.m., DAZN): Jaime Munguia vs. Takeshi Inoue, 12, for Munguia’s WBO junior-middleweight title.