Fireworks are expected when Manny Pacquiao defends his WBA “regular” welterweight title against Adrien Broner on January 19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao has held world titles in eight divisions from flyweight to junior middleweight and is set to continue his glittering boxing career in what will be his 70th professional contest.
The 39-year-old had been linked with a rematch against rival Floyd Mayweather, but to get there he needs to overcome the Showtime Pay-Per-View showdown with Broner.
Pacquiao captured a secondary welterweight crown – Keith Thurman is the WBA’s Super champion – by stopping Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round of their fight in Kuala Lumpur in July.
The Filipino improved his record to 60 wins, seven defeats and two draws, but is 5-5 in his last 10 professional contests.
Broner, a former super featherweight, lightweight, light welterweight and welterweight world title holder, was once considered the heir apparent to Mayweather.
The brash boxer’s speed and power carried him to 27-0 but he has since lost his way and has suffered three defeats in his last 10 outings.
He has fought only once this year: in a majority draw against Jessie Vargas in April.
Ravone Littlejohn, who co-runs Broner’s About Billions Promotions, believes his boxer is capable of scoring a knockout win with the right shot.
“It’s going to be a great fight. If my man AB hits the right shot, it could be a short night. We’ve never been down for the count, and we’re not going to start now. We know the position we’re in. It’s a pleasure to fight a legend like Manny Pacquiao,” Littlejohn said.
Pacquiao was knocked out cold back in 2012, when Juan Manuel Marquez clipped him with a massive one-punch counter in the closing seconds of the sixth round of their fourth bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.