No fans, no pomp, just a straight-up press conference that was heavily focused on Pacquiao, as he is truly one of the boxing world’s biggest stars and making a huge transition to the Al Haymon world of diplomacy.
The press conference featured words from Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe and their broadcast partner of choice, Showtime Sports and its President, Stephen Espinoza.
“Will Manny Pacquiao be able to use his plethora of experience to defeat a young Adrien Broner whose still in the prime of his career?” said Ellerbe. “Or will Adrien Broner be able to utilize his outstanding speed and his skill set to defeat the legendary Hall of Famer, Manny Pacquiao?”
One thing was glaringly clear – the media did not show up for Broner. Any boxing pundit can wax poetic about the athletic gifts bequeathed on Broner, but his failure to live up to the hype since his undefeated run from 2008-2013 has left many scratching their heads.
“I had to call my momma after I looked in the mirror this morning,” said Broner, whose record stands at 33-3-1 with 24 kO’s. “I had to let her know she has a beautiful son. We finally made it to pay-per-view at 29.”
The Cincinnati native is a former four-division world titleholder and one of boxing’s most colorful personalities. Always brash and outspoken, he has faced some of boxing’s best en route to winning titles at 130, 135, 140 and 147 pounds, including against Mikey Garcia, Paulie Malignaggi, and Shawn Porter.
“This fight means a lot to me,” said Broner. “A win and I turn legend overnight. I got the whole hood with me just like he has the whole Philippines with him. I don’t even know how to spell that. But I have the whole hood with me: H-O-O-D.”
Broner, who will face his 10th world champion in Pacquiao, scored a controversial draw in his last fight against former two-division world champion Jessie Vargas.
At that fight, the bigger prevailing thought was if rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine was going to show up. That was based on the ongoing trolling the two had engaged in at the time.
6ix9ine had in fact shown up with his Treyway squad and got into an altercation with fellow Brooklyn rapper Cassanova 2x that was recently a part of an indictment which sent the rainbow colored hair rapper to the bing.
This is the underlying problem, pun intended, with the Broner mystique; it’s totally based on buffoonery and criminality.
Pacquiao however, is boxing’s only eight-division world champion and he is ending his two-year hiatus from fighting in the U.S. with this bout. It will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as Pac Man defends his World Boxing Association welterweight title.
Pacquiao had some tax troubles, and his last fights have been in Brisbane, Australia, and Malaysia. However, his newly forged relationship with Al Haymon has delivered a deal with the IRS and access to a stable of opponents he wouldn’t have otherwise had access to.
Pacquaio is coming off a vintage performance in July where he stopped Argentine slugger and world champion Lucas Matthysse inside seven rounds. Now, Pacquiao returns to the U.S. in his remarkable fourth reign as welterweight world champion.
Already a clinch as a future Hall of Famer, many believe this is actually more of a tune-up fight before a potential rematch against Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
“When I met up with Floyd [Mayweather] in Japan, we talked and he said he wants to come out of retirement to challenge me,” said Pacquiao. “All I know is fighting in the ring and entertaining people. That’s my job. Floyd has come out of retirement and we’ll see after this fight, but we cannot underestimate Broner and this fight. We will discuss anything with Floyd Mayweather after that.”
Despite his advanced age, many think Pacquiao will wash Broner and send him back to the oddities section of combat.
Only Broner, who has always tried to be more than a boxer by rapping and social media acting, can decide if this is the time when he will right his wrongs and regain the respect of fight fans because the H-O-O-D has always been fickle with pretenders.