Raise your hand if you are excited that Manny Pacquiao is returning to the ring to fight Chris Algieri later this November in Macao? Not many people are too happy that this is Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent and are even more upset because it will be a card that you will have to shell out 60-70 bucks to see.
I, myself am interested in the matchup because it is fresh. It isn’t a rehash or another recycled Top Rank rematch. Where I do lose interest or become Ho-Hum about the matchup is when you factor in the pay-per-view aspect and that Manny Pacquiao is only fighting twice a year and this is one of his opponents. If this was Manny Pacquiao’s third opponent of the year or on regular HBO, you wouldn’t have an argument from me as to why I don’t like the fight because I am interested in how Pacquiao will handle Algieri’s style.
Being that the fight is in Macao, China and the Venetian provides an enormous site fee, for the card to be a success, most insiders gauge that the pay-per-view has to amount 450,000 buys. That’s no small task with amount of pay-per-views that have hit our sport this year and when you consider Pacquiao-Rios which was held in Macao, only did about that very same number.
So enter Chris Algieri. He is a fresh face and might not be as hard to sell as an opponent for Pacquiao as some may think.
For starters, he picked himself off the canvas twice against Ruslan Provodnikov and went on to win a decision to win a 140 lb. title. Now while the decision could be debated because it was a close fight (my card was 113-113), there’s no doubting the heart and resiliency of the Long Island boxer as he went into the lion’s den and fire over 900 punches, landing 288 on the Siberian Rocky.
Let’s not forget, this is the same Provodnikov that had Tim Bradley concussed and made Mike Alvarado submit in his hometown last year. Let’s also not forget that this is the same Provodnikov people wanted to see Pacquiao in there with for the very same fight. So Algieri did what guys like Josesito Lopez did with Victor Ortiz to get a Canelo Alvarez fight, and what Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero did to Andre Berto to earn a Floyd Mayweather fight; beat that guy in line to get the shot at a mega fight.
Algieri is something different. He’s a good looking fella of Italian and Argentinean that could be starring in movies instead of boxing. He is a converted kick boxer to boxing prize fight. Guess what? He loves the sport of boxing that much because he actually has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in healthcare sciences. He works as a clinical nutritionist and is intending to go to medical school. So the cliché of him loving to fight is true to the point where he doesn’t need to take punches for a living, holds true.
He was thought to be just a local draw in Huntington, Long Island where he would pack the Paramount Theatre for his ESPN Friday Night Fights main events. But just like Ruslan Provodnikov, who was considered to be just an ESPN fighter, once he got his opportunity at the big stage in boxing on HBO, he ran with it. From earning a career high payday against Ruslan Provodnikov of $100,000, he is now set to earn at least 10 times as much with the Pacquiao fight, with a guarantee purse worth 7 figures.
To my interests, it doesn’t seem hard to sell that story on an HBO 24/7 and those guys over there are good at what they do and to start the sell, just show Algieri picking himself off the canvas and boxing 12 brutal rounds with Provodnikov.
And the cherry on top is that he can actually box. He is long and is rangy with the jab. He puts together nice combinations and has good footwork where he won’t be a plodder standing right in front of Manny Pacquiao. For all the slack Top Rank gets for matching Pacquiao I will say this, they have matched Pacquiao with a variety of styles when possible. He’s fought boxer-punchers (Cotto, Mosley), counter punchers (Marquez), and guys that are quick and move well on their feet (Bradley and not Algieri). You’d be hard pressed to find Mayweather fight a mover like Bradley in a long time.
Although I would have liked Algieri to get another good win on his belt before making the fight to make it that much more credible, I can’t fault him for jumping on the opportunity. Will Chris Algieri win? I’m not picking him but then again I didn’t pick him to beat Provodnikov, let alone last 12 rounds with him.
For those that will complain that the bout is on pay-per-view and you can rightfully so, you can show the promoter and network your dislike by not buying, many did with Pacquiao-Rios.