By Keith Idec
Manny Pacquiao’s stock answer when he is asked about a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. is that he is fully focused on his upcoming fight against Adrien Broner.
A blunter Broner has a stock answer of his own. He repeated it Thursday on a conference to promote his January 19 showdown with Pacquiao at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“No disrespect,” Broner said, “but I don’t give a f*** about Mayweather and Pacquiao.”
While Pacquiao considers a victory over Broner as his path toward a second shot at Mayweather, Broner obviously has an opposite plan. The 29-year-old Broner envisions an upset of the Filipino superstar as just the type of high-profile win he needs to change the course of his career.
Speculation persists about Broner potentially facing Mayweather if he upsets Pacquiao because it would an easily promotable bout between Mayweather and an opponent he has mentored.
Regardless, Broner is one of boxing’s most polarizing figures and regularly draws strong ratings for Showtime.
The less favorable numbers for the former four-division champion are 1-1-1 – Broner’s record in his past three fights. His lone victory among those three bouts was a debatable split-decision defeat of Adrian Granados (20-6-2, 14 KOs, 1 NC) in February 2017 in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati.
In his following fight, fellow four-division champion Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) unquestionably out-boxed Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) on his way to decisively defeating him by unanimous decision in July 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Broner’s subsequent bout resulted in a 12-round draw with Jessie Vargas (28-2-2, 10 KOs) on April 21, also at Barclays Center.
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) dominated Vargas, a former two-division champion, and beat him by unanimous decision in November 2016 at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Broner’s draw with Vargas still didn’t prevent him from securing the biggest opportunity of his career in his next fight.
“I’m focused on Adrien Broner and Pacquiao,” Broner said. “And, you know, I’m focused on getting this victory and I’m gonna go to the drawing board with my team – Stephen Espinoza and Al Haymon – and we gonna make bigger moves.”
Espinoza is the president of sports and event programming for Showtime, which will distribute the four-fight pay-per-view event headlined by Pacquiao-Broner. Haymon is Broner’s adviser and the organizer of Premier Boxing Champions, the brand with which Broner and now Pacquiao are contracted to fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.