Manny Pacquiao says he will prove “age is just a number” when he fights as a 40-year-old for the first time against Adrien Broner in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The Filipino will defend his WBA world welterweight title against the former four-weight world champion.
It will be his 70th professional fight, coming some 24 years after his debut.
“This is a challenge because it is my first fight as a 40-year-old,” said Pacquiao. “I have something to prove to everyone about what that means.”
He added: “Age is just a number. What matters is how you prepare and that you’re working hard.”
Broner and the Mayweather dynamic
Pacquiao, who began boxing to earn as little as $2 in order to help his mother feed their family, is now a senator in his homeland and cites chess and reading as factors in keeping his mind “sharp” for this stage of his career.
American Broner, 29, has proved one of boxing’s most controversial characters, most recently arrested over driving offences in December.
At Wednesday’s news conferences he reportedly made insensitive jokes directed at Filipino fans.
Broner – nicknamed ‘The Problem’ – has been irked by the growing volume of calls for Pacquiao to secure a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, who beat him in 2015 defeat and will be in attendance at the MGM Grand on Saturday.
“People are talking a lot about Pacquiao fighting Floyd Mayweather again, but I’m pretty sure Floyd is retired,” said Broner.
“I feel like people are trying to throw me to the wolves and overlook me.
“Look at my last five fights. I’ve fought world champion after world champion. I don’t duck any fights. I don’t care how many weight classes he’s won titles in.
“I’m not in awe of any fighter, especially Manny Pacquiao. I hope he’s in awe of me. I’m a one-of-a-kind fighter too. I’ve made history in this sport. I’m going to beat him up and have a drink with him afterward.”
Pacquiao responded to defeat by Australian Jeff Horn in 2017 by knocking out Lucas Matthysse in July to win the world title and extend his record to 60 wins, seven defeats and two draws. Broner has drawn and lost in his last two outings, giving him a record of 33 wins, three loses and a draw.
‘The sequence of sequences’ – Analysis
BBC boxing correspondent Mike Costello
Just before Christmas I went to interview Pacquiao and the hunch I got was like I got when I spoke to David Haye before he faced Tony Bellew in a rematch – that was how old Pacquiao looked. But we can only judge against the last performance and I thought he was really impressive against Matthysse.
There is also a charge laid against Broner that he has lost his most important fights. Pacquiao told me how badly he wanted to beat Broner to set up a possible rematch with Mayweather and how his defeat by Mayweather hurts more than any other as he didn’t feel he could do himself justice.
BBC Radio 5 live boxing analyst Steve Bunce
There’s a 14-fight sequence in Pacquiao’s career and it’s an unbeaten sequence. There isn’t a flaw in it. Every fighter in it either had a world title or would go on to win a world title. The worst fighter would be someone like Jorge Solis, who was unbeaten in 36 and would go on to win a world title.
The sequence goes Erik Morales, Oscar Larios, Erik Morales again, Jorge Solis, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, David Diaz, Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez again.
It goes from 128lbs up to 150lbs. That’s 14 fights, six years and around 10 champions. I am going to put that uninterrupted consecutive sequence against any sequence of any period in boxing history.
If the qualification is five years and 10 fights, that sequence is going to be unbeaten in history.