It’s just about time to see if Chris Algieri can turn a one-off into a trend, can catapult himself to Fighter of the Year honors…or to see if Manny Pacquiao can put into a more nuanced perspective what Algieri did to Ruslan Provodnikov this past June.
Can the Long Islander show the same chin and mettle and superior pugilistic moves he exhibited versus the Russian, and is Pacman (56-5-2) susceptible to that skill set? Or will Manny get the angles on the New Yorker, who has so impressed promoters with his gift for selling his chances and personality, and show himself to be in another league than the 20-0 boxer who not too long ago was seen as an ESPN Friday Night Fights-level performer.
Promoted by Top Rank and Sands China Ltd., in association with MP Promotions, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, Banner Promotions and Tecate, the Pacquiao vs. Algieri world welterweight championship event will take place tonight at the Cotai Arena in The Venetian Macao Resort in Macau, China. It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. Boxnation coverage in the UK starts at 2:00am.
Now it’s prediction time – I've reached out and spoke to various experts and asked them for their take on the outcome. Enjoy, and please add your own, in the TSS forum.
First off, preds from Team TSS.
David A. Avila: Manny Pacquiao by split decision in a close and boring fight. Algieri's reach will prove a problem, kind of like Vernon Forrest's reach always proved difficult for Shane Mosley. But Manny's leg quickness should help him win the fight.
Bernard Fernandez: It is a matter of some debate of just how much Manny Pacquiao has left, in terms of skill or of will. And it probably is true that he has lot some hop off his fastball. Still, you have to figure that 75 to 80 percent of all that Pac-Man once was should be enough to get past a Chris Algieri who beat Ruslan Provodnikov, but took a bit of a beating in doing so. Pacquiao by ninth-round stoppage.
Randy Gordon: Algieri WUD 12; I am as royal as I can be… I must go with my homeboy to win a decision. Pacquiao has lost before. He will lose again. Bring on the rematch clause!
Blake Hochberger: Pacman UD12. I think this is a really tactical fight that sees Algieri's stock rise in defeat. He'll win a few rounds convincingly in the middle rounds, but Manny's pressure/high-volume combination punching will penetrate the American's stellar defense. You can't prepare for the unique angles Manny attacks from when he charges in, and Algieri lacks the pure punching power to crack him with counters to stop him from attacking and dictating the pace.
Frank Lotierzo: On paper Pacquiao-Algieri looks like a mismatch. However, I believe Algieri is a little better and tougher than most think. His height, reach and fighting aptitude will keep him around for a while. Manny has gone back as fighter – that's why Chris was selected as the opponent. Pacquiao wins, and if he's still anything close to the super-nova he once was, he should stop Algieri.
Aaron Lowinger: Pacquiao UD-12 ; We all know Algieri is a strong tactical fighter in great shape, and we've seen him get rocked and stay in, so I don't think his chin will be much of an issue. Besides, Pacquiao seems to enjoy outboxing guys rather than knocking them out these days anyway. It will be Pacquiao's speed and power that carry him to a decision win that is scored more narrowly than we'll expect.
Raymond Markarian: I like Pacquiao to win a decision. Manny looks sharp in camp. He might look for the knockout early but Algieri’s height and jab will prevent that from happening. Oh, and you cannot forget about Algieri’s footwork. Algieri’s movement helped him the most against Provodnikov but he will not tame Manny. I think Manny wins a wide decision and hits Algieri with blistering combos in the midst of an exciting one-sided fight. Pacquiao UD
Kelsey McCarson: Pacquiao TKO 10. There's nothing in Algieri's close win over Provodnikov that tells me he can do anything but go rounds (and lose them) against Pacquiao. I'm not even sure he deserved the nod over Provodnikov in the first place. Pacquiao is too fast and too good offensively for the limited Algieri. The HBO and Top Rank hype machine did their job. They've convinced the boxing public at-large that the good-natured kid from Huntington, New York has a chance. He doesn't. After about two rounds, this fight is a one-sided beatdown in Pac-man's favor.
Robbi Paterson: First of all, I prefer Algieri's style to Pacquiao's, even though it's not proven at elite level over a prolonged period of time. He fights tall behind his jab, which I admire, topped off with excessive lateral movement and he possesses a sharp lead right hand down the pipe. Algieri can't stand flat footed for too long. He also can't back away too much either (survival style strategy), as this will invite Pacquiao to come on strong with both hands while closing the distance. He'll need to find a balance between both, a bit like how Marquez employed himself against Pacquiao. Algeiri must also shoot his punches from underneath as well as over the top – variety is needed. With that said, it's extremely hard to pick against Pacquiao over the course. He's got gears Algieri, so far, hasn't shown in his career. I'll go with the tried and trusted: Pacquiao via decision.
David Phillips: Pacman, TKO 10. I think Algieri's cajones will carry him into the later portions of the fight. The biggest issue I see for Algieri is he can't hurt or out throw Manny. Provodnikov took portions of their fight off and he's there to be hit. Manny will be busier and his superior footwork will flummox Algieri. Not to mention, Manny can hurt Algieri too. I don't think Algieri will quit. I suspect we may see a towel in the ring. Let me also add, I'm zero for 2014 on big fights. So there's that.
Aaron Tallent: Algieri will face Pacquiao in what is only the second 12-round bout of his career. This is not going to be pretty. Pacquiao by KO.
Spring Toledo (author of the book 'Gods of War): Algieri's victory over Provodnikov was more of a showcase of the latter's limitations than the former's skill and prowess. Algieri is good for boxing; and his superb conditioning and lionheart rightfully earned him the win that earned him a shot at Pacquiao. But that doesn't mean he can win. This will be a test first of Pacquiao's legs. If Pacquiao still has them and “it,” he'll slip the jab, close the distance, and crack him from angles like Matrix. If he wants to, he may knock him out.
Phil Woolever: Pacquiao TKO 9. Leonard – LaLonde 2.
—compiled with Michael Woods
Sean Crose (Boxinginsider.com): I think Algieri may be a bit underrated. Still, Pac-Man comes at you so fast, from so many angles, and so aggressively, that it's hard for me to see Algieri beating him. Sure, Algieri has a ton of heart and energy, but he was only able to squeak by Provodnikov (if he even did that). Manny's just on a whole other level. Pacquiao by UD.
Malik Scott (heavyweight contender): I believe Algieri has the skills to pay the bills: a huge heart and great ring generalship. I believe that his style is perfect for Pac-Man to be defeated at this time. Algieri wins a decision in an entertaining fight.
Matt Hamilton (ESNewsreporting.com): Boxing needs a Pacquiao win to sustain a range of lucrative possibilities in 2015. I thus see Algieri as unlikely to be the recipient of any goodwill on the cards. Having said that you have a Pacquiao in decline – at what rate we do not yet know – against a more modest talent historically who is close to or at his absolute peak. For these reasons I'm inclined to view this as a contentious yet convenient Pacquiao win on the cards by majority decision.
Ben Doughty (TipTv.co.uk): A lot of people seem to be tipping the upset in this one and I can appreciate the reasoning behind it. Algieri impressed me vs Provodnikov and clearly knows his way around the ring. He has three and a half inch reach advantage and at 5' 10″ possesses the movement and skills to cause Pacquiao problems. A points win for Algieri doesn't seem like an outlandish prediction at this stage but I think that Manny looked relatively fresh in the Bradley rematch earlier this year. As the bigger commercial animal, I think that Pacquaio can do enough to win a decision whether richly deserved or not.
James Smith (InThisCornerTV.com): Interesting fight given where both fighters are at this stage in their lives and careers and given the stylistic matchup. Manny should win no doubt, but Chris with his length and jab, yes especially that jab can present problems for the Pac-Man. Manny has always had an issue with the jab. The reason for that, well that is for my show. My pick would be Manny by decision.
Rudy Hernandez (Los Angeles based trainer): Algieri will try and out box Pacquiao but he's never been in the ring anyone like Pacquiao, who's style is not common and not as easy as it looks. Pacquiao will try and knock him out but I think Algieri survives after getting knocked down once or twice. Pacquiao by decision.