One of the only assurances in this life is that there are no assurances. Plan all you want but, the universe gets its kicks reminding you who’s actually in charge. If the weatherman says 80 and sunny, prepare to be scraping ice off the windshield of your Ford Fiesta. If your friend says to meet him at his dead wife’s grave at 6pm plan for a phone call from Six Flags around midnight asking where you are. Death, taxes and the cosmos making a fucking asshole out of you.
Sometimes, though, things go exactly how you thought they would.
And isn’t it funny how it almost always involves Adrien Broner in a boxing ring?
In our preview of this fight, I predicted an easy 117-111 decision for Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KO). I based that on Pacquiao’s higher work rate and the fact that Broner kinda sorta sucks. I even offered to fellate everyone on my Twitter timeline should Broner happen to stop Pacquiao, so sure was I of the impossibility of that outcome.
But holy shit, not even I could’ve predicted the pathetic effort Adrien Broner (33-4-1, 24 KO) put forward last Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev. in what was, by his own admission, the biggest fight of his career on Showtime pay-per-view. In a winnable fight against an aging legend– one that would make or break his career not to mention his almost certainly near-depleted bank account– Broner threw 295 punches and landed 50 of them.
I’m gonna type that last part again just in case you thought it was a typo: He landed 50 punches. Fifty. Five zero. Fucking cincuenta.
Let’s put that into perspective. 259 punches thrown over 12 rounds comes out to about 24.5 per round or just a shade over seven per minute. That means that if you threw a punch right now and then threw one again at the end of this sentence you’d be on pace for a higher output than Broner in this fight and something tells me you didn’t pistol whip a promoter into giving you $5 million to do it.
And that connect rate? Under 20 percent. I realize most of you didn’t graduate high school but 50 landed punches over 12 rounds comes out to just a hair over four per round. Again, let’s put that in perspective. Throw a punch right now and then shoot your neighbor with a silencer-equipped sniper rifle. When you hear his wife scream as she discovers his body throw another punch. Congratulations, you have a higher punch output than professional boxer Adrien Broner.
Sorry, I just had to see it again to make sure this wasn’t some sort of collective lucid dream or a shared delusion we were experiencing.
The fight itself was… fine. It was just good enough not to be bad, but not good enough to be on pay-per-view. That it was even watchable at all was solely to Pacquiao’s credit. In his storied career he’s shown a propensity to make hay out of just about any pile of dung and good grief did he ever have one in front of him Saturday.
After coming out to the classic Survivor hit “Eye of the Tiger”, which is the dad jeans of ring walk songs, Pacquiao stretched out his jaw and bounced on his toes as if in full understanding that it would be up to him to make this fight even remotely aesthetically pleasing.
For his part, Broner came out to some shitty rap song that I’m not going to google, so you’re on your own there. When I Shazam-ed it on the night of the fight, my phone just said “Dude, you were alive when the Challenger exploded. This isn’t for you.” Fair enough.
The difference in the two fighters’ approach was apparent from the opening bell. Pacquiao would dart in from all angles, land a jab and then step to the side before anything came back his way. Broner attempted to time a counter left hook over Pacquiao’s jab, but for the most part he looked like a dog who’d just been shown a card trick. He knew he was supposed to have some type of reaction, but his goldfish brain couldn’t figure out which one. By the time it landed on one, the whole process had started over again.
I genuinely think Adrien Broner struggles with object permanence. When his enormous dad puts a blanket over his cage at night, I guarantee he thinks the world has disappeared. In much the same vein, when the fighter in front of him isn’t throwing anything, he must assume that his opponent has vanished. There can be no other explanation for the passivity of his approach to prizefighting.
In what had to be the result of sheer, blind luck, Broner actually found a home for a few of his counter lefts in the third. That he Birdboxed his way to a handful of connected punches shouldn’t be that big of a deal given that this was a professional boxing match and all. However, it gave the illusion that maybe, just maybe, if age caught up with Pacquiao and Broner’s piñata bat approach to counterpunching could bear a little fruit, this might become competitive.
It did not become competitive.
As Pacquiao’s work rate increased, Broner’s inexplicably became even more anemic. The 7th round saw Pacquiao rock Broner with a massive left hand that sent the future TMZ obituary staggering across the ring. As Pacquiao closed in and dug shots to Broner’s body, the current defendant in two sex crime cases held on for dear life. He made it out of the round, but it was the schadenfreude we came for and it gave us enough images to fill up our meme banks for the time being.
The late rounds saw more of the same: Pacquiao jabbing his way in, potshotting with the left and dashing back out before one of Broner’s increasingly rare counters came back. In the final round Pacquiao, went in for his 40-year-old version of the kill, which is basically flurrying on the ropes in hopes that something of his hits something of his opponent’s. Broner was never in any real danger, but the action had referee Russell Mora taking a close look.
Alas, the stoppage never came but even the poor schnooks in the cheap seats knew who had won. Everyone watching did.
Everyone, that is, except for Adrien Broner.
In a post-fight interview with Showtime crypt keeper Jim Gray, Broner claimed, emphatically, that he “beat that boy” — to the uproarious laughter of everyone in attendance. This was delusion bordering on psychopathy. This is like me claiming that I didn’t see the sunbathing old lady that I hit with a speedboat or Mike Alvarado telling a cop that the meth isn’t his. Simply implausible.
Broner went on to deep-six anything that was left of his career with the duration of the interview, but I’ll let you YouTube that at your discretion just in case you have a douche chill allergy.
Pacquiao officially took home a unanimous decision victory (117-111, 116-112 twice) that frankly should’ve been wider.
For Manny Pacquiao, this was an easy career resurrection that opened the door to any number of lucrative, and more importantly, meaningful fights. Any of the PBC welterweight regulars (Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, etc.) would be enticing — as would a revenge match with Australian Jeff Horn (19-1-1, 13 KO), if only because it’s fun to hear Jeff Horn’s name with an Aussie accent: jayf hawn.
The big one, though, is obviously a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. that no one wants or needs except for the bookmakers and casino owners. Two forty-somethings pitty-patting their way through a rematch to a universally panned fight that was a chore to watch four years ago, when both guys were already past their primes, seems like an atrocious idea but if you think it’s not happening, I’ve got a TMT flat bill hat to sell you.
For Broner, I mean, who gives a shit really? It seems like the dam has finally broken for even the most lickspittle of his ever-dwindling minions. After this performance he should be all but blackballed from the upper echelons of the sport. If I was Broner’s manager –and I thank any god who will listen that I’m not — here are three fights I’d pursue for him: 1) Fellow screwball and non-observer of sex crime laws Victor Ortiz, 2) Fallen sex god Jorge Linares, or 3) a fucking wood-chipper.
If it seems like I’m being especially hard on Adrien Broner, I want you to remember one word:
- Anyone who ever threatened to skull-fuck Badou Jack (22-2-3, 13 KO) can now get their chance, as he has a fully formed vagina smacked square on his forehead, courtesy of Marcus Browne (23-0, 16 KO). If you haven’t seen it, grab a puke bucket and google away.
- One of the judges who awarded Hugo Ruiz (39-4, 33 KO) a unanimous decision victory over Alberto Guevara was none other than Adalaide Byrd. She managed to get it right – broken clock, blind squirrel, etc. – but man, it sure seems like this sport has a death wish sometimes, doesn’t it?
- This is gonna come as a massive shock to you, but Rau’shee Warren (16-3, 4 KO) lost a lackluster decision on a high-profile card. Astonishing, I know.
(Manny Pacquiao (R) lands a right on Adrien Broner during their fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Jan. 19, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nev.; Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)