Manny Pacquiao has heard all the doubters and naysayers.
Now, the eight-division world boxing champion wants nothing more than to prove them all wrong.
Pacquiao defends his WBA welterweight title against Adrien Broner live on pay-per-view from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. He is the only fighter to capture gold in eight different weight divisions.
“I feel so blessed and happy because of the excitement around this fight. It’s come from the fans here in the U.S. and media all over the world. I want to go out there and make all the people happy,” he said. “The knockout in my last fight felt good. It felt like my younger days against Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and others. That fight was a big challenge for me to recover from the fight against Jeff Horn. People said that my career was done. But I never got discouraged, I just worked hard and made the knockout against Lucas Matthysse happen.
The 40-year-old Pacquiao scored a seventh round TKO over Matthysse this past July, improving to 60-7-2 in his career. He has not fought in the U.S., though, since a 2016 win over Jessie Vargas.
“People writing me off after the Jeff Horn fight was good for me. I’m not mad at anyone who thought that. It just became a challenge and a test to me of whether or not I could still show my best,” he said. “Being back here at MGM Grand makes me so happy. It’s an honor to be in this position. I remember my first fight here in the U.S. was at MGM Grand. I will never forget that moment and now I get to come back here and do it again.
“I know he is going to counter me but we’re ready for that. What happened in the Juan Manuel Marquez fight will not happen again. It was a mistake and I learned that mistake. We’ve worked on that in this training camp. I am prepared for Broner’s style.
“This is a challenge because it is my first fight as a 40-year-old. I have something to prove to everyone about what that means. Age is just a number. What matters is how you prepare and that you’re working hard.”
Saturday’s card also features two-division world champion Badou Jack battling unbeaten top-rated contender Marcus Browne for the WBA Interim Light Heavyweight Title, former world champion Rau’shee Warren taking on France’s Nordine Oubaali for the vacant WBC Bantamweight World Championship and unbeaten WBA Interim Featherweight Champion Jhack Tepora defending against former world champion Hugo Ruiz.