It’s been over two months since boxing has had a PPV and frankly, boxing needed that break. However, HBO and PPV reunite, by way of Top Rank Boxing, to bring you, the Pride of the Philippines, Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao vs. the undefeated Chris Algieri. The fight will take place in Macao, China, and will be for Pacquiao’s WBO world welterweight title. Also on the card will be a pair of title fights in the featherweight and junior welterweight divisions as Vasyl Lomachenko will defense his WBO featherweight title against Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, and the undefeated Jessie Vargas will defend his WBA junior welterweight belt against Antonio DeMarco.
The 35 year old Manny Pacquiao comes into this fight with a record of 56-5-2 with 2 draws and 38 stoppages. There isn’t much to say about him that isn’t already known. The 10 time world champion, in eight divisions, doesn’t have much left to prove in the sport. He can retire now and his legacy will have been written and his hall of fame spot is already waiting for him. Manny’s big problem right now is fighting opponents that would actually attract a crowd. There’s a very slim list.
Algieri is one of those people that no matter what he does, he seems to do it well. He learned martial arts at a young age and it translated into an undefeated kickboxing career of 20-0. Then he decided to retire and go into professional boxing in which he now stands also at 20-0 with 8 by way of stoppage. In my opinion he has one of the top 5 jabs in the sport and he is very technically sound. Despite the lack of “pop” Algieri has done well for himself and the only thing to question is how really good he is?
This fight came together quick, real quick. Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach did not expect this fight to happen when I spoke with him after Algieri won a controversial split decision over Ruslan Provodnikov. At the time Roach thought Algieri was a tough solid guy, but needed more seasoning to get a fight with Pacquiao. However, in boxing, things change fast and now we have the fight lined up and ready for Saturday.
I am actually very impressed with Algieri’s boxing skill. So impressed that I think there is a chance that after the fight some will say they had this as a close fight or even a draw. However, I don’t think there is any chance that he gets a fair shot on the judge’s cards in what can be considered Pacquiao’s backyard. Pacquiao hasn’t won by stoppage since he beat Miguel Cotto in 2009 and Algieri doesn’t have much pop, which leads to my prediction of Pacquiao by unanimous decision, 117-111, 116-112, 116-112.
One of the boxers that could be a rising star in the sport of boxing is Vasyl Lomachenko. Despite losing his 2nd professional fight, which happened to be a title fight against a veteran Orlando Salido, who came in overweight, Lomachenko won his battle with Gary Russell Jr. in impressive fashion to capture the WBO title. The 26 year old has a decorated amateur background which includes 2 Olympic gold medals. He finished his amateur career with a ridiculous record of 396-1, with his only loss coming to Albert Selimov, who he came back to beat twice.
The man known as “Loma” will be facing Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, a veteran featherweight who has an impressive record on paper of 52-1 with 33 KOs, but he has only stepped up in class one time and he lost that fight to Chris John in 2012. I expect something similar here as Piriyapinyo isn’t in the same class as Lomachenko and I expect that to be shown during numerous exchanges. I’m going with Lomachenko by a pretty easy unanimous decision, 118-110 twice and 117-111.
Probably the most competitive fight on the undercard will be Vargas (25-0 with 9 KOs) vs. DeMarco (31-3-1 with 23 KOs). Vargas is younger, but has less power than DeMarco. However, DeMarco hasn’t fought anyone good since he was beat up by Adrien Broner in 2012. Even with the lack of power, Vargas doesn’t run from mixing it up in the ring. It leaves him open to getting caught, but DeMarco has to prove to me that he still has something left in the tank. Since he hasn’t shown that as of yet, I’m going with Vargas by split decision, 116-112, 113-115, 115-113.
This year seemed to be a bit of a watered down year for boxing and PPVs. Fans expressed their displeasure and it resulted in some lower buying rates. Cotto decided that he was not going to have a December PPV, even before deciding to take the year off. Canelo Alvarez is injured and cannot have a PPV fight. But no matter what, we always seem to have the two Floyd Mayweather and two Pacquiao PPVs every year. How long will that continue? No one knows at this moment, but hopefully, if you listen to Bob Arum, soon, we won’t have to buy two separate PPVs to see Floyd and Pacquiao fight, stay tuned, and enjoy the fights.