Manny Pacquiao will face off against Adrien Broner on Saturday and puts his WBA welterweight crown on the line against one of boxing's infamous bad boys at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The two fighters share a fond rapport with one another outside the ring, but 40-year-old Pacquiao will go in search of back-to-back wins for the first time in more than two years when he takes on a foe more than 10 years his junior.
"The Problem," 29, drew against Jessie Vargas in his last bout—Pacquiao beat the same foe via unanimous decision in November 2016—and lost to Mikey Garcia prior to that, with the American under pressure to impress in Vegas this weekend.
Date: Saturday, January 19
Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
PPV Start Time: 9 p.m. ET/2 a.m. GMT (Sunday, Jan. 20)
Approx. Ring Walk Time: 12 a.m. ET/5 a.m. GMT
Saturday's showdown is a tough one to call in that Pac-Man—now in his fourth decade and approaching his 24th anniversary as a professional fighter—is drawing to an inevitable close in his career, while Broner has youth on his side.
But exuberance has proved to be a pitfall for the younger of the pair in the past, and Pacquiao recently spoke to The Ring's Cynthia Conte at Freddie Roach's Wild Card gym, where he doubted Broner's knockout prediction:
Per the Mirror's Martin Domin, Broner forecast a takeover of the boxing world after he's finished with Pacquiao, though he hasn't lost his sense of respect for a former idol:
"Growing up and seeing Pacquiao fight, of course I always wanted to fight him. I'm a competitor. One day I want to be the best, and to be the best you have to beat the best. It starts here.
“This is my first PPV but I was always supposed to be here. God doesn't make mistakes. After this victory, I will be taking over the sport of boxing. This is just the beginning.
"His last fight he did stop [Lucas] Matthysse, so I'm pretty sure he still has power. But I'm going to be ready, I'm going to be ready for whatever he brings to the table. We're in shape to get it done, I can tell you that.
"This win makes me an icon. It makes me what I always wanted to be, and what everybody always thought I would be. A win here and I'm a legend overnight."
As Broner mentioned, Pacquiao was dominant in his last performance—a one-sided beating of Argentinian Matthysse in the seventh round of their bout last July—and the Filipino veteran has looked fresh in his preparations:
Broner has had success against left-handers—he's gone 7-0 in his career, per Keith Idec of BoxingScene.com—but Pacquiao is nothing if not methodical, the kind of fighters The Problem has had issues with before.
The balance is mismatched in Pacquiao's favour in terms of experience and career prestige, but Broner is far from out of the fixture, as Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe told FightHype.com:
That being said, it's likely we'll see Pacquiao attempt to use Broner's own energy against him and draw out the fight as long as possible, making a late surge only when he senses his foe may be sapped.
It will be of interest to see whether has put in the preparations to last until those later rounds, as even at 40 years of age, that's where this fight could be decided should Pac-Man be allowed to dictate the pace.
Prediction: Pacquiao to win via unanimous decision.