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Ellerbe picks Broner to beat Pacquiao

Adrien Broner Manny Pacquiao

By Allan Fox: Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe is leaning in the direction of Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner to defeat WBA World welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao this month on January 19 in their pay-per-view fight on SHOWTIME. Despite the boxing public and the media viewing Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 as the favorite to defeat former four-division world champion Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs), Ellerbe says it’s a fight that is 50-50 when the two well known fighters meet up this month in eight days from now.

Ellerbe sees something in Broner’s fighting style that he believes gives him a real shot at beating the 40-year-old Pacquiao. It’s not Pacquiao’s advanced age for why Ellerbe is picking Broner to win. He believes that styles make fights, and he thinks that Adrien has the right style to defeat Pacquiao. He certainly has the heart, and that’s something that Ellerbe values highly with fighters. Although has has come unglued in several of his fights during his career in loses to Marcos Maidana, Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia, he’s done well in his other fights. Even in those defeats, Broner was competitive to the very last. One can attribute those defeats to mistakes Broner made in giving away too many of the rounds, and not pushing hard during the crucial first six rounds. That’s a training issue that he’s obviously working on.

“This fight is going to be a lot more competitive than a lot of people think it is,” Ellerbe said to Fighthype about the Pacquiao vs. Broner fight. “He [Broner] can immediately change the course of his career with a win over Pacquiao. Honestly, I think he has a very, very good chance. I’m not even calling it an upset. The way most fans and experts have it, it’s kind of 60-40. The way I see it, it’s a 50-50 fight, but I kind of favor Broner,” Ellerbe said.

Ellerbe could very well be right. This fight might be A LOT different than what boxing fans think it’s going to be. The fans are making a mistake of judging Broner from his recent fights against Jessie Vargas, Mikey Garcia and Adrian Granados. They’re not seeing what Broner is capable of doing when he’s properly motivated, and is in excellent shape. Broner knows that he’s being counted out, and he’s coming into this fight highly motivated looking to pull off an upset, which might not be an upset. The Broner that we saw from 2008 to 2012, would have a good chance of beating Pacquiao. It wasn’t until Broner started slacking off after 2012, that he started struggling, taking losses and not looking impressive. Broner is catching Pacquiao with him looking passed him, overlooking him, and focusing more on the lucrative matches ahead against Mayweather and the Spence vs. Garcia winner. Pacquiao could find out the hard way that you don’t overlook talented fighters like Broner. This is Broner’s Super Bowl, believe it or not. This is easily the biggest fight of Broner’s career. He’s always wanted to fight Pacquiao, and now he’s finally gotten his wish. It’s bad news for Pacquiao if he’s not coming into this fight with the right motivation to deal with what he’s going to have in front of him on January 19.

If Broner can bring himself back to his former self from earlier in his career, he’ll have a very good chance of beating Pacquiao on January 19, and doing it with style. There’s so much for Broner to gain from this fight. He’s not going to come into it unmotivated like we saw in some of his losses. He wants this fight, and he knows what he needs to do for him to upset Pacquiao. It’s a bonus to Broner that Pacquiao is overlooking him, talking about wanting to fight the winner of the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia fight, and wanting to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a rematch. It’s a mistake for Pacquiao to be overlooking Broner, but it’s not surprising. Pacquiao thinks he can do to Broner what Maidana, Porter, Vargas and Mikey did. He might find out that he’s woken a sleeping giant in this fight, and it’s going to be a much different Broner than the one that had problems against those fighters.

“How could he take Broner lightly? He’s a fresh 40. You can’t bring back time,” Ellerbe said. “That you can’t do. Prior to the [Lucas] Matthysse fight, he hadn’t had a knockout in nine years. All of a sudden, he’s not going to switch it up at 40. He throws a lot of punches from different angles, and he’s extremely fast and explosive, who has beat a number of good fighters. He’s a future hall of famer,” Ellerbe said about Pacquiao.

As of his last fight against Lucas Matthysse, Pacquiao is showing he still he still has a lot of punching power, and is very dangerous at 40. Pacquiao did something different in his training camp for the Matthysse fight that he hadn’t done in the previous nine years of his career, as his punching power looked much better than it had since 2009. The last time Pacquiao showed that kind of power was against Miguel Cotto. If Pacquiao brings that same kind of power to the Broner fight on January 19, then Adrien is going to need to let it all hang out in the first six rounds to go for a knockout. If Broner waits until the second half of the fight to start coming on, he won’t be around to use that game plan. Pacquiao is hitting too hard right now, and he’ll KO Broner if he has a passive punching bag in front of him.

“In this particular fight, it comes down to the timing of the fight, and where it is taking place in their careers,” Ellerbe said. “Adrien has to find a way to win a fight, and this is a big fight. Both guys know what is at stake. I think it’s a must win for both guys for what they want to accomplish with what’s left of their careers. Look at the guys he can fight if he gets past Broner. I wouldn’t count him out against any of those fighters. I think the Spence fight will be a little rougher, but Manny seems to think he can beat him too. I know for a fact with the other welterweights, he’ll be very competitive. He wouldn’t be an underdog in my eyes,” Ellerbe said.

It’s no mystery what Broner needs to do to beat Pacquiao. Adrien is going to need to be aggressive against the former eight division world champion Pacquiao for him to have a chance to win. Broner likely won’t be given a decision if he fights the way Mayweather did against Pacquiao in 2015. Mayweather was struggling against Pacquiao in the first half of the fight. It wasn’t until Mayweather started listening to his trainer/father Floyd Mayweather Sr. to attack Pacquiao, that he finally took over the fight and dominate. The way for Broner to defeat Pacquiao is to attack him, as he’s not going to be given the victory if he stays against the ropes and lets him be the aggressor the entire fight. Broner is the opponent for this fight. The judges obviously know that. He’s the struggling fighter career-wise right now, so that means he’s going to need to do a lot more than the normal opponent for him to get a decision against Pacquiao. What Broner should be looking for is a knockout if he wants to make sure that he gets his hand raised at the end of the fight. That’s not going to be easy for him to do unless he throws more punches. He can’t sit back and slap with his shots like we’ve seen him do in a lot of his fights over the years. Pacquiao will eat that style.

“The three losses that he [Broner] has, they were good fighters, especially Mikey Garcia,” said Ellerbe in talking about Broner’s past three defeats as a pro. “In the Shawn Porter fight, we all saw he gave away the early rounds, and came on strong at the end and dropped Shawn. That surprised everybody, and then obviously with the Maidana fight. He showed he’s got heart. He’ll be the first to say that he didn’t give himself the best chance to be successful. Anytime a guy has God given ability, and they don’t make the most of it, then people disrespect you a lot because of your performances. Just imagine if you’re him. He’s giving himself the best chance, because he’s in the best shape of his life. What if he wins?” Ellerbe said about Broner.

Broner takes a lot of unfair criticism from boxing fans for his losses to Marcos Maidana, Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia. The fans don’t realize that those are very good fighters, and that Broner could have won each of those fights if he had used a different game plan. Against Maidana, Broner fought with his back against the ropes for 12 rounds, and that was him making it easy for the Agentinian fighter. Had Broner used movement, and stayed off the ropes, he would have had an excellent chance of beating Maidana. Mayweather fought in the same way that Broner did in the first six rounds of his first fight with Maidana in 2014, and he had just as many problems against him. it wasn’t until Mayweather made adjustments to using movement in the second half of the fight, that he was able to take control of the fight. Broner used the wrong game plan for the Maidana fight. Likewise, Broner repeated that mistake in his fight with Shawn Porter in 2015. Instead of using movement, like Keith Thurman did to defeat Porter, Broner fought with his back against the ropes for most of the fight with Shawn, and he ended up getting outworked and roughed up. At some point early on in the Porter fight, Broner should have gotten off the ropes and started boxing him the way Thurman did. In Broner’s loss to Mikey, he gave him too much respect by fighting passively in the first six rounds. When Broner finally did go after Mikey in the last half of the fight, he dominated the action and got the better of him. Broner let Mikey win by default by not using his talent and his own offense to pressure the smaller guy. In Broner’s recent 12 round draw against Jessie Vargas, he repeated the same mistake that he did in the Mikey fight by not throwing punches in the first six rounds. When Broner did start attacking Vargas in the last half of the contest, he easily controlled the fight and got the better of him. Unfortunately for Broner, he had given away too many of the early rounds for him to win the decision. If you look at all those fights, Broner could easily still be unbeaten if he had made the right moves early on in each of those fights. Whether that’s the fault of his trainer or his own, it’s unclear. Ultimately, it’s Broner that is responsible for not being aggressive enough and smart enough to win those fights, but it’s disappointing to see him not do what he’s capable of doing against guys that he’s clearly better than. If Broner wasn’t a better fighter than Mikey, Porter, Vargas and Maidana, he wouldn’t have given them major problems in the second half of those fights.

Ellerbe isn’t sure what Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be doing as far as his career goes. Right now, Mayweather is retired, says Ellerbe. Whether he wants to come back and challenge the winner of the Pacquiao vs. Broner fight, he’s not sure. But from what Ellerbe has seen, Mayweather is no longer interested in continuing his career.

“He’s retired but if he changes his mind, which he’s entitled to do, then he’ll let everybody know,” Ellerbe said about Mayweather. “As of right now, he’s [retired]. He could have fought him, if that’s what he wanted to do, right now,” Ellerbe said in talking about Mayweather. “Floyd, I don’t think he’s interested. He doesn’t have any interest in boxing, in the fighting part.”

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