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Pacquiao V Broner [Vol.1]: The Ghost of Valero

John Gatling takes a look at the Jan. 19 face-off between Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner.

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Pacquiao V Broner [Vol.1]: The Ghost of Valero


A part of us remains wherever we've been. Roughly two weeks into a 2019 sort of limped into on a respiratory, the doldrums of [what was] has slowly morphed into what will be, and with it, a renewed fervor for what is the sweet science. Not that it’s been easy.

We begin with Monday, the unofficial start of “Fight Week” in Las Vegas for Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39KOs) vs. Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24KOs), with grand arrivals occurring on Tuesday. 

I imagine the Senator from Sarangani Province in the Philippines is revisiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for reasons much bigger than a new authoritarian version of an old “Pac-Man” gobbling Lucas Matthysse via 7th round KO…

..last July to claim a portion of the WBA welterweight crown. 

The New York Times reported that Malaysian government officials have blamed Goldman Sachs for stolen funds in the billions, a crisis that has threatened the entire Asian archipelago before making its way across the China Sea and into the politics of nearby Manila.

Presumably “About Billions,” about the only “Goldman” Broner may be familiar with is an Oscar not named De La Hoya turned down by Kevin Hart. The two men just cannot be any different: Pacquiao is being groomed for the presidency by controversial incumbent Rodrigo Duterte, while Broner chops it up and tosses dead presidents in the air with hip-hop mogul Rick Ross. Reflecting back on the intriguing second installment of All Access: Pacquiao Vs Broner on SHOWTIME, a segment featuring A.B. trainer Kevin Cunningham comes to mind. “Take your 40 year-old ass back to the Senate!” suggests the militant Cunningham, in a display of psychological gamesmanship with an actual colonel in the Philippine army as well.   

Freddie Roach, the embattled Hall of Fame trainer certainly glad Pacquiao brought his ass back to the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, long had major problems grappling with the visionary political ambitions of a fighter he loves like a son.

Freddie Roach - Pacquiao vs Vargas
Boxing Trainer Freddie Roach

Not that this love was blind– it's just that hate can see; for as long as political envy has a problem with his personality of spiritual invitation, Freddie wanted to protect Manny from the kind of unwelcome visitors that make ring life inhospitable. Now, a rebuilt prodigal son, the two have reunited to dust off a game plan to be polished by new lead trainer Buboy Fernandez, a fearsome plan initially designed for Floyd Mayweather and his unbreakable defense way back in 2010. Around this time, a time where Pacquiao began losing the killer instinct he'd become famous for, Roach, unhappy with the ‘too democratic' blood coursing through the veins of his pound-for-pound king, encouraged Pacquiao to examine the most lethal finisher in the sport at that time: unbeaten savage and WBC lightweight champion Edwin Valero.

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Ask RING Editor Dougie Fischer about the time a spooky Valero froze the great Erik Morales during an electrifying sparring session that came to an abrupt halt. Valero, who had a tattoo of infamous Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on his chest and was just as close to him in life, was a technically deficient Roberto Duran from the southpaw stance and a ring iteration of Jason Statham from “Crank”. 

Before unspeakable tragedy surrounding the death of his wife and the subsequent taking of his own life under highly suspicious circumstances (to this day in the ravaged nation of Venezuela, natives are adamant that corrupt and treasonous forces within government killed both), Valero would have most likely crossed paths with Pacquiao in a spectacular superfight never to be. Had he lived, a more distinct possibility would have pitted Valero against a young Mayweather wannabe in Broner– which would've resulted in another unspeakable tragedy. However, the 29 year-old battle tested Broner unveiled on Saturday night would match up favorably over that Valero of the same age, a fighter Pacquiao will now more closely resemble in context. No longer a fighter of consistently unusual speed with special feet, Senator Pacquiao is now a very wise cat n' mouse plodder baptized and born again by the faith in his power. Intangibles aside, this fight projects to be something like the final fight of Valero's life against Antonio Demarco.

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Because so many Pacquiao fans celebrated a new year with memories of 2018, we can't forget who Matthysse no longer was. Considering how bad the Argentinean mauler looked against a very basic Tewa Kiram prior to facing Pac, it's almost difficult to know if Mayweather's embarrassing tune-up exhibition over a bootleg Pac-Man in Tenshin Nasukawa (bless his heart) was any more helpful in assessing who he is. But after a decade of politically correct decisions of the unanimous kind, Pacquiao has vetoed the little white lie in search of a darker truth with conviction. An iconic champion of the 3rd world facing an underground king of “Da Hood” in Broner, Pacquiao has an unstated desire to exercise the demons of Money. During a phone interview last week, the sport's only 8-division world champion could not hide his contempt for what Floyd did to a young novice who grew up with Pacquiao posters on his wall in Japan. For even a chance, Pacquiao must brutally “The Problem” by turning Adrien Broner into a crude exhibition Saturday night at the MGM Grand on SHOWTIME PPV

Senior correspondent for NY Fights and author of upcoming book, "The Fist Club." Conscious indie recording artist "T@z" and humanist advocate for the Green Party.