By Sean Crose
Bob Arum has offered Chris Algieri the chance to fight Manny Pacquiao next autumn in China, leaving little doubt that boxing has a new golden boy. Algieri, from Huntington, Long Island, was a skilled yet light punching unknown until very recently when he won a controversial decision over Ruslan Provodnikov. Now, the world seems to belong to the WBO junior welterweight champion.
Algieri is of Italian and Argentinian descent, but he’s about as general American as one can get. Clean cut, educated, and with future plans outside the ring, he’s the boy next door.
Ask yourself this, though – nice or not, would Algieri be offered a fight with Pacquiao if he were from, say, Mexico? What about Lithuania? Would Algieri find himself in the same position if he had a thick eastern European accent? What if he acted like Adrien Broner? Would Arum be offering Algieri a megafight if Algieri performed his own version of the “can-man” routine?
Now, provided Algieri takes the fight with Pacquiao – and really, why wouldn’t he? – what kind of an opponent will he make? A more formidable one than some might think, if not because of his skill set then because of the fact that the right people seem to like him. Judges don’t have to be corrupt in order to be influenced. Heck, those doing the influencing don’t even have to be corrupt themselves. They just have to be powerful and open in their affections.
If I was Manny, If there’s one thing Algieri does well, it’s hang in there. The man’s energy and stamina are, in fact, extraordinary. If Pacquiao isn’t able to destroy him, Algieri’s notable ability to survive may be enough to sway the judges into yet another unfair decision.