It’s kind of amazing we still get to be excited about watching Manny Pacquiao fight.
What I mean by that is that Pacquiao, 40, is still one of the best welterweights in the world. I’ve watched plenty of other all-time great fighters continue their careers after their 30s, but not many actually still look elite enough to do big things against top competition.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Adrien Broner is the coolest thing going on this weekend. But don’t forget about undefeated middleweight Demetrius Andrade defending his WBO belt on DAZN or that potentially riveting heavyweight battle between Bryant Jennings and Oscar Rivas on Friday night.
Here’s where to watch the best fights this weekend.
Friday, Jan. 18, 2019
What: Demetrius Andrade (26-0, 16 KOs) vs. Artur Akavov, (19-2, 8 KOs)
Where: Hulu Theater in New York, New York
Time: 9 pm ET
Synopsis: While it’s true fight fans probably want to see Andrade against better competition than unknown two-loss fighters like Akovov at this point in his career, it’s also true Andrade needs to be more active than he has in the past to get better fights and that his promotional arrangement with Matchroom Boxing is at least paying off in that regard. Andrade is a huge favorite, but winning impressively will go a long way into filling in the tapestry required to make his case as a viable opponent for Canelo Alvarez someday soon.
Former lightweight titleholder Jorge Linares (45-4, 28 KOs) and former junior welterweight titleholder Chris Algieri (22-3, 8 KOs) are also on the card in separate fights, but the most noteworthy fight on the entire card is probably six-division world titleholder Amanda Serrano (35-1-1, 26 KOs) attempting to win No. 7 against Eva Voraberger. Serrano won the vacant WBO junior welterweight title on Oct. 20 and is going after the vacant WBO junior bantamweight title less than three months later. To do so, Serrano had to shed almost 20 percent of her body weight. That alone is an amazing accomplishment, especially for someone as fit as Serrano.
What: Bryant Jennings (24-2, 14 KOs) vs. Oscar Rivas, (25-0, 17 KOs)
Where: Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York
Time: 9:30 PM ET
Synopsis: Jennings is the only relevant heavyweight contender Top Rank has on its promotional roster which works out for both Jennings and the company because it means Jennings is the heavyweight fighter who gets ESPN pretty much all by himself and Top Rank can fill in those dates. Jennings is a solid professional who has challenged for a world title and is on track to challenge for another one soon so long as he can keep to his winning ways. Rivas, 31, is a live dog and a legitimate threat to usurp Jennings. Getting a solid heavyweight scrap on ESPN+ is a win for fight fans who love boxing’s glamour division, and it might turn out to be the fight of the weekend. Also on the card is 21-year-old super featherweight sensation Shakur Stevenson (9-0, 5 KO) who genuinely appears on his way to becoming one of boxing’s next legitimate superstars.
Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019
What: Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) vs. Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs)
Where: MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada
Channel: Showtime PPV
Time: 9 PM ET
Synopsis: Pacquiao vs. Broner is the first fight Pacquiao took after signing with boxing manager Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, and it’s basically the fight everyone wanted to see for all the wrong reasons.
Both Pacquiao and Broner have won world titles in multiple weight classes, but Pacquiao vs. Broner doesn’t appear to be all that competitive on paper. Instead, people want to see Pacquiao vs. Broner because Pacquiao carries himself in such a way that he draws love and admiration from people while Broner does the exact opposite. Regardless, it should be a fun fight no matter how long it lasts, and the undercard features a stalwart light heavyweight battle between Badou Jack (22-1-3, 13 KOs) and Marcus Browne (22-0, 16 KOs). The other two fights on the PPV are Rau’shee Warren (16-2, 4 KOs) vs. Nordine Oubaali (14-0, 11 KOs) for the vacant WBC bantamweight title and Jhack Tepora (22-0, 17 KOs) vs Hugo Ruiz (38-4, 33 KOs) in a featherweight scrap.