Pacquiao takes the safe route

Ed C. Tolentino

Ed C. Tolentino

For a boxing superstar whose pay-per-view numbers have been dwindling at an alarming rate, you’d think that Manny Pacquiao will take on a high-profile foe in his next ring outing to instantly rejuvenate his market value.

However, the latest buzz on the boxing grapevine is that Pacquiao is leaning on picking New Yorker Chris Algieri for his projected November defense of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight (147 pounds) championship. The last time he was spotted in the squared circle, Algieri barely dodged opposite Russian mauler Ruslan Provodnikov. Algieri was knocked down twice in the first round and fought with a busted eye the rest of the way before hacking out a close split verdict over Provodnikov for the WBO junior welterweight (140 pounds) championship.

From the perspective of a boxing layman, a Pacquiao-Provodnikov brawl still makes for a palatable fistic menu than Pacquiao-Algieri. Styles make fights in boxing and Provodnikov’s aggressive approach figures to bring out the beast in Pacquiao’s belly. Algieri is cut up as a boxer, and Pacquiao’s recent duel with another slick boxer, American Timothy Bradley, did not really live up to pay-per-view expectations.

From where this writer sits, however, Pacquiao is taking the judicious approach with the end in view of reaping huge dividends in the end. While it remains a figment of the imagination, boxing fans continue to salivate for a showdown between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. There are reports brewing that with Mayweather’s pay-per-view numbers also dwindling, the two fighters might just get it on in the immediate future.

There is a need, however, for Pacquiao to stay in contention for the mega fight with Mayweather. Pacquiao almost blew the big fight when he got creamed in 6 rounds by Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012. Fortunately for Pacquiao, he was able to resurrect his career and he now sits as the WBO welter king once more. Pacquiao obviously cannot take the same risk as he may not get another chance at resurrection.

Fighting the relatively unknown Algieri will not improve Paquiao’s pay-per-view numbers, but it will keep the prospect of the megabuck match with Mayweather alive. Pacquiao is actually adopting a businessman’s approach: He stands to lose a few million bucks against Algieri, but is looking at a financial bonanza opposite Mayweather.

Of Italian-Argentinian descent, Algieri offers a ledger of 20-0 with only 8 knockouts. He never fought as an amateur and converted to pro boxing after retiring from professional kickboxing with a 20-0 record. To his credit, Algieri was unbeaten as World Kickboxing champ.

The 30-year-old Algieri is tall at 5’11,” offers a pesky jab and a good, albeit telegraphed, right straight. Make no mistake, the guy is a poster boy; one who owns a bachelor’s degree in healthcare science and a master’s from the New York Institute of Technology. As a pro boxer, however, his skills are suspect. Algieri appears to have the punching power of an ant and his chin almost betrayed him against Provodnikov. The lack of quality opposition in Algieri’s record and his vulnerability to the left hook overall make him the ideal foe for Pacquiao at the moment.

By taking on another boxer in Algieri, Pacquiao is in a way honing up for Mayweather. The cocky Mayweather is actually doing the same thing, as he is booked to meet again Argentinean slugger Marcos Maidana.

Pacquiao is taking a gamble against Algieri, but it is a safe one that he hopes will reward him handsomely in the end.

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1 Comment

  1. The fighting pride of the philippines, its a joke, he is becoming a laughing stock in the world of boxing. You go very light on manny. Its ok for you he fights someone he shouldnt even be looking at. Tell me without looking it up ed c tolentino how many welterweights manny pacquiao has fought in the last 3 years. Ill help you, its 1, yes 1. It was tim bradley in his last fight. But now he has gone straight back to fighting light welterweights. I think he is scared of fighting welterweights now. He knows he is vulnerable to their power now he isnt juicing. Oh but not a single pinoy will ever accept he was juicing will you. Can you think of another boxer he refused rbt for a fight. & this fight he would have got 50% of everything & it would have been the highest grossing fight in the history of boxing. But he wouldnt cheat would he as he is a proud pinoy & a politician & your politicians wouldnt lie or cheat would they. Im just reading boxing news24 & writing replys to those pinoys who are defending manny in this fight & yet slate floyd mayweather for fighting maidana. Its a good job the world doesnt let pinoys run things as what a laughing stock it would become. Just look at how many of you will defend manny for taking this fight. I wont.