Manny Pacquiao vs Chris Algieri: Mexican Legend & Fox Deportes Analyst Erik Morales Predicts Pacman May Face Problems Against Algieri
Chris Algieri (20-0) prepares for the fight of his life as he takes on World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2) Saturday night at the Venetian Macao's Cotai Arena in Macau, China in a fight that one Mexican boxing icon feels will not be easy for the veteran Pacquiao.
Algieri, who defeated hitting Ruslan Provodnikov for the WBO Light Welterweight Champion in June, is also a former International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) World Welterweight champion and World Kickboxing Association (WKA) World Super Welterweight Champion, who has segued into boxing and is challenging one of the best boxers in the world despite only 20 boxing matches under his belt.
One former rival of Pacquiao's believes that, despite the fact that "man" is the heavy favorite to beat the old fighter from Long Island, New York, Algieria shot of scoring a huge upset, noting that Pacquiao has not been the same since he was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.
"Four, five, six years ago I'd tell you that Manny Pacquiao should win this fight easily," said former champion Erik Morales, a Fox Deportes boxing analyst who has faced Pacquiao in a thrilling trilogy that included the legendary Mexican champion beating him for the World Boxing Council (WBC) International Featherweight title by unanimous decision in 2005. "However, while Pacquiao has more experience, he's been very conservative, maybe fighting with some lingering fear as a result of the Marquez fight."
Morales believes that the brawl against Provodnikov was a huge learning experience for Algieri, who was knocked down twice and bloodied up by the heavy-handed Russian fighter. Yet Algieri stood his ground and came back to win the bout by a split decision (112, 112 and 117 on the scorecards) to defeat Provodnikov.
"By beating Provodnikov, even if it was by decision, it toughened him and gives him points in his favor to go the distance with Pacquiao," Morales said. "I'm not saying Algieri is going to win. I just think it's a closer fight than what Vegas thinks it is or what other people think."
Pacquiao is looking to end his year knockout drought, which his trainer Freddy Roach credits to his fighter moving up in weight class rather than age. Roach, who also trains Provodnikov, says that Pacquiao will end this fight early and show the world that Pacquiao has not lost his ability to finish fights in devastating fashion.
"Manny is not Ruslan," Roach said to ESPN. "Manny is an division champion with speed and power. When he hurts a guy, he knows what to do. Chris Algieri is not fighting Ruslan. This is not a 'Rocky' movie. It might be one round."
Chris Algieri vs Ruslan Provodnikov
But while experience may be on Pacquiao's side, age could also be a disadvantage against a fighter that is taller, heavier and has a reach advantage over him.
"I understand that Chris Algieri doesn't have much experience facing fighters of this caliber and that could be a factor, but he has the advantage of having fought Provodnikov, who is difficult, strong, throws a lot of punches and you can compare him to Pacquiao in the pressure that he used to bring four, five years ago," Morales said.
"Pacquiao should pressure him, throw hard shots, hit him with quick combos much like he did against Antonio Marguerito but he's not that fighter anymore. It's a lot harder for him to pull that off. He doesn't have the legs that he used to have a few years ago."
Morales said he also thinks there may be more on pressure on Pacquiao going into Saturday's fight than the underdog with more at stake for the Filipino boxer than just his title.
"[Algieri] has nothing to lose, because at the end of the day, he's fighting against one of the best," Morales said. "On the other side, 'Man' has a lot to lose and very little to win because at the end of the day, he beats Chris Algieri [and] people will say he beat someone inexperienced. But he has the most important bout of his career ahead of him, and that's the fight with Floyd Mayweather. That factor puts pressure on him that he must win."
Morales feels that a Pacquiao-Mayweather matchup has to happen, but he does not count on it occurring next Cinco de Mayo weekend, a time of the year where "Money" usually schedules his bouts. Promotional politics of a different kind may get in the way of Pacquiao-Mayweather with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Miguel Cotto gearing up to fight on that May 2015 weekend, regardless what Mayweather's plans are.
"It's improbable because Pacquiao and Cotto are signed to Bob Arum," Morales said. "He's not going to split up his profitability on the same night. It just won't happen."
A victory by Pacquiao over Algieri on Saturday night will certainly have fans and boxing pundits once again talking about the anticipated match-up and whether it will ever happen.
"If [Pacquiao] wins, it has to happen," Morales said. "Mayweather is a boxer who has faced many fighters, but not the best fighters and people will always throw that at him. The people are demanding for this fight, it has to happen. If it doesn't happen, it's something they'll regret, especially in the case if Mayweather."
Schedule, How To Watch
The Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri will take place Saturday night 9 p.m. on HBO PPV or can be stream via TopRank.TV.
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