MACAU: TOP RANK Promotion chief Bob Arum warned reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao against getting overconfident because he is facing a formidable, inspired and unbeaten opponent in Chris Algieri.
Arum said the 30-year-old New Yorker‘s accurate jab is his most dangerous weapon and the 35-year-old Pacquiao should be ready for it.
Pacquiao and Algieri, who is undefeated in 20 fights, square off on Sunday at the Cotai Arena in Venetian Hotel here.
“Algieri’s jab is the best jab in the world now and Manny should be careful. I’m not saying this because I also promoted him but that’s the fact,” Arum told The Manila Times in an interview on Friday. “He [Algieri] is very inspired in this fight.”
He said Algieri “has a strong chance of beating Pacquiao, but Manny remains to be the competitive boxer he is. Let’s see this Sunday.”
According to Arum, tickets to the fight are expected to be sold out.
The 82-year-old promoter said the pay-per-view buys were close to a million, and are expected to be more than double the 475,000 buys generated by last year’s Pacquiao-Brandon Rios fight.
“This is so much bigger than last year,” added Arum, noting that the pay-per-view buys could double the $475,000 earnings of the Brandon Rios fight.
“We expect to dispose off less than 15,000 seats available for sale,” he said. “Let me just say that we’ve learned from our mistakes a year ago. Every mistake we committed last year has been corrected and everything is going good and smooth.”
“Pacquiao is very popular here in Asia and China,” Arum added.
Arum described Venetian Macau as “beautiful. The Cota Arena is great.”
The Venetian it is the world’s biggest casino, with 10½ million square feet of space, 3,000 suites, more than 800 table games, hundreds of high-end retail stores, three indoor canals and replicas of Venice landmarks St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace.
Big fights were always held in Las Vegas, but Arum was never afraid to venture outside the city and has promoted big fights in 22 countries in the past 50 years.
The 1975 Thrilla in Manila was an example of a successful boxing event outside Vegas.
But the Brooklyn-born and Harvard Law-educated Arum recalled some nightmares, too, like the 1998 Erik Morales-Junior Jones show in Tijuana, where local promoters locked up the production staff until Arum gave $25,000; the 1994 Herbie Hide-Tommy Morrison bout in Hong Kong that Arum cancelled the night before when $2 million in guaranteed financing did not materialize; and the 2010 Miguel Cotto-Yuri Foreman fight at the Yankee Stadium when the unions billed Top Rank very big amounts of money.
Pacquiao (56-5-2) is fresh from back-to-back wins against Timothy Bradley, while Algieri’s most recent and biggest victory is against Ruslan Provodnikov.
In Malacanang, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Jr. also on Friday said the Palace is confident that Pacquiao will win.
“May the Lord grant him enough strength and fortitude to be able to win this fight and bring pride to the country,” Coloma added in a statement.
“The entire nation is wishing for Pacquiao’s victory,” he said.
With reports from ROBBIE PANGILINAN and CATHERINE S. VALENTE