On what is sure to be an infinite procession of interviews and press conferences where old ground is repeatedly stomped beneath the feet of eager journalists looking for news of the slightest significance, Manny Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach answered some questions for Tha Boxing Voice in the build up to their November 22nd clash with Chris Algieri in Macau, China.
Algieri outpointed Pacquaio’s stablemate Ruslan Provodnikov in his last appearance in a shock upset to earn himself the WBO light-welterweight title in June this year, and now takes a step up in weight, class and purse, thousands of miles from home in an attempt to gain a second championship belt in just his twenty-first professional bout.
If you look at the two fighters standing next to one and other you would be shocked that it is Algieri who is the one moving up in weight as he dwarfs Pacquiao by at least half a foot, and Roach addressed this when asked what concerns he feels Algieri present going in to the fight: “We’ve got sparring partners that are a good height, a lot of tall guys coming in, I think that’s the biggest thing. He’s got a good jab. He’s left-handed so he leads with his power hand, his right hand is nothing strong but we’ll be prepared to take that jab away from him.” Roach also couldn’t resist having a little dig at Algieri’s tactics in his win against Provodnikov, whose corner Roach was working in on the night, “Don’t be surprised if he’s running in there a little bit because with Ruslan that’s what he did late in the fight.” In that instance the line between illusive boxing and ‘running’ was a contentious issue between observers.
Following Roach’s comments some questions were directed at Manny, who seemed bemused to say the least, as he offered standard replies to queries regarding his age and what we as fans can expect from the fight with Algieri; “I’m still young I’m still ok, I feel good. [It’s going to be a] great fight, lots of action.”
He was also noticeably evasive when another question was posed to him regarding whom he would rather fight out of Floyd Mayweather Jr and Juan Manuel Marquez if he was given the choice. He said he would fight both of them together on the same night as he laughed with his advisors, who were standing nearby but not entirely in view of the camera. Pacquiao’s refusal to properly answer the hypothetical question, and the interjection of his rolex-wearing lackies gave the feeling that the interviewer had just bumped in to the glass wall that separated him from the mega-star fighter. It is unfortunate that even with this type of face-to-face access there remains a veil of secrecy surrounding the fighter’s own thoughts. Perhaps he and his team did not want to somehow jeopardize negotiations that are on-going behind the scenes, or maybe he was just messing around. Nonetheless, neither of those proposed fights will happen if Pacquiao fails to make it past Chris Algieri, so we’ll see how things stand after that.