Matchmaker Ron Katz told me before his kid Chris Algieri was to fight Ruslan Provodnikov that the Long Islander had a real good chance. Now, you might expect him to say that, being that this in-the-game for four decades fightmaker is employed by Algieri promoter Joe DeGuardia. But…we have to note how that played out this past June, how Katz was spot on in his assessment, of Algieri’s skills and heart.
That in mind, I reached out to the NY fight game perennial to get his take on the Saturday clash between the hearttrob and the Congressman, which will unfold in Macau, and on HBO PPV.
First off, Katz didn’t make the trek to Macau, as he has a heart flutter and episodes of irregular beats mean the trip would be a bit of a roll of the dice. He will be here in the States, fingers crossed tighter than will be healthy for his digits.
So, Mr. Katz, what about it…will Algieri pull off another most significant upset, this time against a boxer a step and maybe two up from Provodnikov?
“My heart says yes, my head hasn’t caught up with my heart yet,” he said, chuckling.
I asked if he had a historical comparison, in styles of the fighters, or points in their career, that came to mind, and he ruminated on it. “Not style wise, but this is almost like Mancini-Arguello, though I’m hoping for a different outcome,” he told me. “I’m hoping Algieri is like Arguello!” (Arguello battled Boom Boom in October of 1981, and the Nicaraguan idol scored a TKO14 victory.)
Katz said he won’t know by the second or third round how things are going to play out, based on Manny’s hand speed, or Chris’ ability to land the jab, or anything along those lines. “Based on last fight, no. Because who’d have thought Chris would have recovered and fought the way he did after two rounds. If Chris can get Manny off rhythm he has been fighting with lately, it could be very interesting. Manny is very adept at using his feints to put you out of position and in a defensive posture that he can capitalize on. If Chris can react as Juan Manuel Marquez did in the last Pacquiao fight, and become offensive rather than defensive, that is one way to upset his rhythm. He also needs to get Manny to open up. Manny has been far more technical lately and if Chris can get him to become undisciplined it will serve him well. Not easy to do, but doable,” Katz said. “All in all, I think Chris is one of those kids who comes along out of nowhere every once in awhile. He proved what he is made of and what his abilities are. Yes, he's fighting one of the top fighters in the world, but at the end of the day, I think destiny is on his side, and he will shock the world by defeating Manny Pacquiao! Yes, my head has now caught up with my heart!”
Seems to me both his eyes are wide open, and he’s seeing the fight with the breadth of his experience, even though his heart is speaking loudly, even though he allows himself to ponder the romantic nature of another upset win, not to mention what it would mean to his company if Algieri downed the Congressman. “It’s like a kid coming up from the minor leagues and facing the world champs in Major League Baseball,” he continued. “Either he takes them by surprise and throws a gem or he is completetely overmatched and gets shelled. But destiny is on his side!”
Love it. Eyes wide open, purely candid, with a hint of romantic yearning. Readers, your thoughts on Katz’ take?
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