Eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao returns to ring action in defence of his WBO welterweight world title against undefeated American Chris Algieri on November 22nd as big time boxing once again descends upon the Venetian Resort’s, Cotai Arena, in the multi-million dollar metropolis of Macao, China.
Pacquiao has bounced back with two victories since his devastating knockout loss to perennial rival Juan Manuel Marquez but there is a growing concensus amongst the boxing fraternity that he has not been quite the same fighter since. However there can be absolutely no doubts that the once considered pound for pound king is still one of the best elite level fighters having comfortably outpointed the tough slugging Brandon Rios before avenging his previous controversial defeat against Timothy Bradley also via unanimous decision.
Despite rising through the rankings as an undefeated fighter Chris Algieri’s rise to prominence has gone largely under the radar but it was his most recent win over the hard hitting Ruslan Provodnikov to win the WBO world light welterweight strap that really thrust him into the spotlight, opening the door to the bigger names in the division. Standing at around five foot ten inches the New Yorker is a very tall fighter in the weight division and possesses the natural attributes to make life hard for the significantly shorter Pacquiao with his reach and range advantages. He utilised these attributes well in his last fight after being knocked down twice in the first round against Provodnikov and they along with his movement will be key for him again going into this fight. He is not renowned for his punching power so will likely be looking to stick behind the jab and try to gain the points victory. He is used to the underdog tag and the magnitude of the event is unlikely to phase him.
Pacquiao’s esteemed trainer Freddie Roach meanwhile has spoken of their desire to not only win the fight but look good doing it. His fighter has not won by knockout since 2009 against Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto prompting question marks over whether the 35 year old’s knockout power and whirlwind ferocity is diminishing with age. However even if he has slowed fractionally he is still one of the fastest punchers in the division and should have enough power to hurt Algieri. With his fleet of foot combined with experience many will expect Pacquiao to be able to negotiate the Algieri jab and come through victorious.
Algieri is set to gain a lot of exposure and even a creditable loss would do his career the world of good and open more doors to other big names. However Pacquiao cannot afford to slip up or his illustrious career could be brought to an early and unwelcome close although as the odds reflect that has little chance of happening.
Pacquiao: W56 (38KO) L5 D2 KO% 60.32
Algieri: W20 (8KO) L0 D0 KO% 40