SAN DIEGO, November 20, 2014 – The fight drama is hours away for eight time world champion Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) and light welterweight champion Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) for their intriguing surprise match-up Saturday night from Macau, China. The fight will be televised by HBO as a pay-per-view event. Communities Digital News will host a live online chat starting with the televised undercards at 9 p.m. ET.
The wily veteran Pacquiao and the hungry young emerging star Algieri face very different goals in this fight. The keys to victory lie down different roads for both men. What does each fighter need to focus on in order to win the rematch?
Skills Pay The Bills: Speed has always been Pacquiao’s friend. Pacquiao marries speed with power, aided by the ability to throw a punch from any angle, even when his feet aren’t really under him. He doesn’t need to come straight at his opponent. If Pacquiao is in classic form, he can neutralize Algieri’s height and reach advantage to do damage without subjecting himself to much damage in return. Even if Pacquiao’s skills are declining, his speed and power plus his experience are still far superior to Algieri.
The Killer Instinct Factor: It’s an ongoing question: has Manny Pacquiao has lost his “killer instinct?” Pacquiao’s genial nature outside the ride confuses observers who have a hard time reconciling it with his persona inside the ring. He is a genuinely nice guy. He is also a busy, distracted guy. During this training camp he’s launched a professional basketball league in the Philippines, been running a “Biggest Loser” weight-loss competition, and oh yes, there’s his day job as an elected Congressman who will likely end up President of his country some day. The focus question is one that won’t be answered fully until Pacquiao is in the ring.
On the other side, Algieri is totally focused. Algieri trains very smart as a student of exercise and nutrition science with the degrees to back it up. He has a similar approach to his training and healthy living as Timothy Bradley, and one of Pacquiao’s losses came at Bradley’s hands as a result.
Who’s Got the Most to Lose? At this stage of his career, losses loom large for Manny Pacquiao. Once again, he finds himself in a “must win” situation if he intends to fight a few more big name fights before he calls it a career. Fans crave a knockout but that’s not going to happen. Pacquiao’s last knockout came in 2009 against Ricky Hatton. Algieri proved he can take a punch in his fight against Ruslan Provodnikov in March. A solid unanimous decision is what Pacquiao should shoot for with no apologies.
Algieri is in the “nothing to lose” driver’s seat as far as the lack of pressure and expectations. He is undefeated, has never fought outside of New York much less the United States. He gets exposure on a huge stage. A loss for Algieri is almost inconsequential. Bear in mind also that Algieri is coming up to a catch weight of 144 pounds for this bout. The light welterweight title he won from Provodnikov is not on the line. After this bout, Algieri can go back to 140 pounds and choose from many good potential opponents as an excellent draw. As long as Algieri acquits himself well, he will win the most important victory: the respect of boxing fans.
Assuming both fighters bring their best game into the ring, Pacquiao will be hard to beat. Algieri will face a blaze of speed and misdirection from a southpaw who has faced every kind of fighting style on the planet. He will move in, do damage, and then get out of Algieri’s way. All fighters end up looking slow in the ring compared to Manny.
Pacquiao says he wants a knockout. The fans would love one. But he doesn’t need one to win. He simply needs to dominate Algieri and show off the skills that made him a star.
My prediction: This fight will go the distance. There won’t be a knockout no matter what the fighters say. Pacquiao hasn’t had a knockout in eight fights. Algieri only has eight knockouts out of 20 fights, only a 40 percent KO ratio. Compare that to the 95-plus percent ratio of boxers like Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev.
Pacquiao will win this fight by unanimous decision. Pacquiao has the advantage of speed and balance behind his power. Algieri is game, he is smart, he is balls to the wall bold and he can take punishment. He will stand up to whatever Pacquiao can dish out in punishment until someone pulls him out of the fight. But he won’t do enough to prevail.
Communities Digital News will bring you all the action tonight in Live Online Chat starting with the televised undercard fights at 9 p.m. ET. We provide blow-by-blow live commentary and real-time photos and invite you to share your reaction to all the action. See you ringside.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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