By Sean Crose
Can Chris Algieri win when he faces the great Manny Pacquiao on Saturday in Macau, China?
In a word – yes.
But man, it won’t be easy.
Here’s the thing the naysayers are forgetting about Algieri – the man is talented. You don’t bring the kind of energy and flashing jab he has into the ring without having at least some natural ability. Algieri may have been a good student (the guy’s got his master’s degree, after all), but, more importantly, he’s a smart fighter.
What I mean here is that the dude’s fully aware of his limitations as a puncher and as a brawler. Rough stuff is just not his thing. Unlike Tim Bradley – a possibly great fighter who tends to lose focus – Algieri stays on task at all times. That’s been proven true even when he’s been dropped by the likes of Ruslan Provodnikov.
Make no mistake about it – Manny Pacquiao is going to be facing an exceedingly confident, consummately professional, undeniably determined foe this weekend. To think otherwise is to sell the kid from Long Island short. And we all know that surprises may be in order when we do that.
Still, logic demands that we look at things objectively here.
Algieri beat Provodnikov, sure, but not convincingly. Many, myself included, gave the nod to the Siberian that night. Did you get a look at Algieri’s happy face after the decision was announced that evening? It looked like it had gone through the battle of Hastings. I’m not just talking about that battered eye, either. I’m talking about the man’s thoroughly drained features.
If Ruslan Provodnikov can do that to Algieri, what might Manny Pacquiao possibly have in store for him? Sometimes one simply has to face facts. Algieri at best squeaked past Provodnikov. And Pacquiao is far faster and more skilled than the Siberian Rocky. Pacquiao lands what can seem like countless clean shots to Provodnikov’s figurative one and he charges forward from all variety of angles.
Can Algieri handle that kind of competition?
Yet one never knows.
I remember watching the Provodnikov match live and imagining what it would be like if Algeiri had more power. I concluded that the guy would truly be a force to be reckoned with. Having said that, who’s to say Algieri won’t have a bit more power in the Pacquiao fight?
Not a great deal more, mind you. As has been stated, it’s clear that Algieri is not of the hard-hitting variety. What if, however, Algieri has developed just enough pop for that jab of his to sting Pacquiao, to make the man hesitant about moving in? That could arguably lead to the upset of the year, could it not?
Furthermore, what will happen if Manny just can’t reach the kid?
Sure, that sort of thing simply isn’t supposed to happen, but what if it does? Algieri has quite the height advantage, after all. What will happen if the great Pacquiao, whether it’s because of age or simple ring chemistry, just can’t get to his foe?
A new era will dawn, that’s what will happen.
It sounds like a pipe dream, I know. I have to make it clear, however, that it’s probably closer to a real life possibility than some might think.
Do I believe Chris Algieri will win on Saturday?
No, I do not.
Will I be surprised if he pulls off the upset, however?
No, I won’t. The Long Islander is more of a potential threat than he’s given credit for.
The only thing I fear is Algieri getting a decision win he doesn’t deserve. Algieri is young, well spoken, handsome and smart. In other words, people may see a lot of greenbacks when they look at his face.
I’m not saying open corruption might be at work. I’m simply saying that Pacquiao may be viewed as having outlasted his massive earning potential at this point, and that such a way of thinking may (“may” being the operative word here) influence certain judges.