A step at a time for Pacquiao in Las Vegas return

LAS VEGAS • Manny Pacquiao is aiming to offer fresh evidence that life begins at 40 when the Filipino boxing great takes on American Adrien Broner today (tomorrow morning, Singapore time).

Pacquiao, who celebrated his 40th birthday last month with a lavish party in the Philippines, will defend his World Boxing Association regular welterweight crown against Broner at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in what will be his first Las Vegas bout for more than two years.

The last time he fought in the boxing capital of the world was in November 2016, when he squared off against American Jessie Vargas, winning by unanimous decision.

Since then, his career has followed an uncertain trajectory, with a highly contestable loss to Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane in 2017 followed by a year-long absence from the ring.

However, Pacquiao (60 wins, 39 coming by way of knockout and seven losses) made a triumphant return in Kuala Lumpur last July, scoring his first knockout victory in six years over Lucas Matthysse.

His stoppage of the Argentinian paved the way for the showdown with 29-year-old Broner, who boasts of a 33-win record, with 24 knockouts and only three losses.

While many observers view the fight as a stepping stone towards a possible rematch with Floyd Mayweather following their money-spinning 2015 fight, Pacquiao is looking no further than the contest with Broner as he intends to "maintain his name at the top".

"My plan is one at a time," the eight-division world champion told Agence France-Presse.

"I cannot say about the future until Jan 19. Leave it as a question mark for now."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2019, with the headline 'A step at a time for Pacquiao in Las Vegas return'. Print Edition | Subscribe