One of the finest warriors to ever lace up the gloves will take on a surprising new challenger later tonight (Sat., Nov. 22, 2014) when multi-division champion and pound-for-pound stalwart Manny Pacquiao takes on undefeated Chris Algieri at the Venetian Resort & Casino in Macau, China.
MMAmania will deliver LIVE coverage of "Pacquiao vs. Algieri," starting with the HBO broadcast at 9 p.m. ET later tonight.
In addition to the main event, the pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature another pair of title fights. At Junior Welterweight, unbeaten Jessie Vargas will put his WBA title on the line against former Lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco, while amateur legend Vasyl Lomachenko defends his newly-won WBO Featherweight title against Filipino journeyman Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming will also be in action, facing undefeated Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym.
We all know what people are tuning in to see, though, so let's not beat around the bush. Let's see whether Algieri has what it takes to fell one of the defining fighters of this generation.
Name: Manny Pacquiao
Record: 56-5-2, 38 KO
Last Five Fights: Timothy Bradley (unanimous decision win), Brandon Rios (unanimous decision win), Juan Manuel Marquez (knockout loss, round six), Timothy Bradley (split decision loss), Juan Manuel Marquez (majority decision win)
Notable Victories: Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar de la Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez (twice), Erik Morales (twice), Marco Antonio Barrera
Name: Chris Algieri
Record: 20-0, 8 KO
Last Five Fights: Ruslan Provodnikov (split decision win), Emmanuel Taylor (unanimous decision win), Wilfredo Acuna (retirement win, round seven), Mike Arnaoutis (unanimous decision win), Jose Peralta Alejo (unanimous decision win)
Notable Victories: Ruslan Provodnikov, Emmanuel Taylor
Chris Algieri is a good, entertaining fighter. Despite his lack of finishing ability, he's enjoyable to watch thanks to an incredibly high punch output. He's got a sneaky right straight and a very crafty left hand; he hooks off the jab well, doubles up the left hook to the body, and has a nice uppercut that Provodnikov ran smack into a few times.
There's just nothing there to make me think "how's Manny going to deal with that?"
Pacquiao is a unique specimen with a blend of speed, power, acumen, and ferocious aggression rarely seen in any combat sport. Aside from Marquez, whose style is a hard counter to Manny's, nobody in recent memory has given him any significant trouble. Algieri doesn't have the timing or the power to blunt Manny's onslaught, nor any one weapon he can fall back on in desperate times.
Provodnikov, while an excellent puncher with underrated ringcraft, is nowhere near the offensive technician Pacquiao is and found his mark on Algieri with disconcerting regularity. There's also the fact that Provodnikov badly damaged Algieri's right eye in their fight, painting a very tempting target for Manny's money punch, the left straight.
Algieri's volume does present the possibility of him outworking Manny in the eyes of the judges, but I believe Manny's former tendency to fight for just a minute a round was excised when it cost him the first Bradley fight.
The real question in my opinion is whether Manny can finally score his first knockout since dispatching Cotto in 2009. I am hopeful, but unless he re-damages that right eye, it's more likely he just buffets Algieri for the full twelve rounds. Chris fights off his back foot well, but not well enough.
Algieri gives a good account of himself, but can't overcome Pacquiao's maelstrom of offense, dropping a wide decision and eating some heavy leather along the way.