by Sean Crose
With just days to go before Chris Algieri steps into the ring with the legendary Manny Pacquiao, people are weighing in.
Everyone with a serious interest in the sport has an opinion, of course. Yet those who have been in the ring with one or both of these competitors are certainly worth listening to.
Erik Morales has stepped into the ring with Pacquiao, not once, not twice, but three entire times. He actually won their first meeting before being stopped by the rapid fire punching machine in subsequent rematches.
Needless to say, the man known as “El Terrible” has uttered some words Algieri may want to take to heart.
Algieri should “move and jab,” he argues, “and make sure he stays away from Pacquiao by using his size and reach.” After having been stopped by Pacquiao twice, Morales speaks from hard experience.
“He needs to keep away from Pacquiao’s power,” Moales insists, “keep him busy with the jab and make sure you land first and when he gets aggressive just counter him. Distance will be a big key.”
Timothy Bradley is another man who knows what it’s like being bested by Pac Man. CJ Ross may have thought Bradley won his first go-round with Pacquiao in 2012, but even Bradley himself admitted he lost their rematch earlier this year.
Unlike many analysts, however, Bradley doesn’t see Algieri as receiving some kind of preferential treatment by being allowed to battle one of the biggest attractions on the planet.
“Algieri earned his spot,” he argues.
As for his most famous opponent, Bradley comes across as a man who knows that which of he speaks.
“Pacquiao today is more of thinking Pacquiao,” the Desert Storm claims. “Since his knockout loss to Marquez, he doesn’t come in reckless or with a gang of shots. He is thinking about his plan of attack.”
That can be bad news for Algieri. Yet Bradley had some advice the up-and-comer from Long Island might be interested in taking.
“You don’t want to be against the ropes against Pacquiao,” states Bradley. “His footwork is like no other in boxing. He throws punches while he is moving.”
So does Bradley think Algieri has a chance on Saturday?
“I think after watching video tape of Algieri he’s going to give Pacquiao a lot of problems,” Bradley claims. “Algieri has excellent movement and range. If he is able to control distance inside the ring, it’s a problem for Pacquiao.”
Ruslan Provodnikov may well be the most interesting voice in the world to hear regarding this fight. He knows Pacquiao well, after all.
What’s more, he’s faced Algieri. In fact, the reason Algieri is facing Pacquiao at all is because he beat Provodnikov by a controversial decision earlier this year.
“Manny will have to pressure Algieri throughout the fight and not give him a chance to let him rest,” the Siberian Rocky states. “Body work and multiple combinations. Manny will also have to utilize speed. His speed of punches and speed of movement.”
Provodnikov, may have believed he bested Algieri when they fought (like so many others did), but he’s still willing to give the man his due.
“Algieri adjusted well in my fight and was able to show that he is a tough fighter,” Provodnikov says.
“He had the heart of a lion that night. He had a game plan and he stuck with it even when I had him on the canvas twice in the first round. He’s very smart.”
Provodnikov may indeed be a bit impressed with Algieri, but he’s extremely impressed with his friend from General Santos City.
“His footwork,” Provodnikov says of Pacquiao, “is magnificent.”
So, what final advice does Provodnikov have for Algieri?
“Run and hide….”