Nothing quite like a weigh in at eight in the morning to get the juices flowing. Many of us favor the sunrise in terms of when to jump onto the scale in the bathroom, as this is usually a time when we’re at our respective lightest. Don’t tell that to Chris Algieri, who earlier this evening (or morning in Macau) came in at .4 and then .2 pounds over the agreed catchweight limit of 144. Most of the time and for the sake of sheer brevity, an overweight participant in a championship fight will often find himself at the target amount of poundage once his socks and any trinkets of jewelry are removed. This wasn’t the case for Algieri, who still found himself north of 144 once his skivvies and neck medallion were respectively removed. We will definitely see how matters transpire in the coming hours. Never mind the fact that an individual who stands just short of six feet tall (as is the case of the Long Island native) could risk brain damage for trying to get down to what is medically speaking, an unrealistic weight.
It may be seen as quite ironic that the one with an advanced education in nutrition, of all disciplines was the one who had trouble on the scales. On the other side of the pugilistic coin, a certain Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao could probably still find combat as a super featherweight if he cut his diet enough to do so. Well, perhaps that is a stretch, but here’s what isn’t. Pacquiao is enough of an attraction in Asia that he could expect high pay per view numbers in China even if he were to fight a windsock figure with boxing gloves grafted onto its hands. There’s a bigger picture, perhaps even one within another as to why the bout is being staged in Macau. It’s a very easy sell to the inhabitants of the region who have often shelled out oceans of money to see Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas many times over.
Location, location, location, right? That’s what we’ve always been told. Take a brief moment to consider the one person that everyone on Earth and Mars have wanted to see in the ring with Manny for way too long. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. may indeed be a Las Vegas staple, yet he needs an adversary on the other side of his usual mammoth promotions to really send its popularity and interest over the top. This is normally accomplished when the nationalistic necktie is pulled hard enough; see Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for such examples of the tactic. Contrast that with Manny Pacquiao. Not many were exactly doing the centipede when a rematch with Timothy Bradley was announced. The stands at the MGM Grand in Vegas weren’t filled to the ceiling but there’s been a fallback plan for “Team MP” in place for just about a year now and its located just off the coast of Hong Kong.
Certain parallels have been foolishly made between Chris Algieri and the fictional American icon, Rocky Balboa. It’s not in any way adaptable, as Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago were all jerks. Manny Pacquiao is a nice guy who has broken the mold of such characters finishing last. The purse received by Chris Algieri on Sunday will serve him well in furthering his education and his goal of attending medical school. He won’t need to apply for financial aid after his career high payday of over one million dollars. Chris may even be able to move out of his parents’ house, which is pretty much the gist of what we saw on HBO’s expertly crafted infomercial, “24/7”. He also makes a killer egg white omelette.
Nevertheless, tomorrow’s contest in a mismatch made in heaven, albeit a gambler’s heaven. Of course, stranger things have happened and boxing is sometimes the theater of the unexpected and the water cooler discussion of, “I’d let him hit me over and over for a million dollars” is likely to come into play for Algieri. He’s going to get hit a lot and from many different angles akin to a pugilistic hailstorm.
The drawback, although it is no fault of “The Boxing Collegiate” Chris is that more than sufficient, if not excessive attention has been given towards his June 2014 victory over Ruslan Provodnikov. Algieri got up off the canvas twice in the bout’s opening round and fought through a badly damaged right eye which was swollen completely shut throughout the reminder of the contest. The kid showed incredible guts and his background as a champion kick boxer may have led to his almost psychic anticipation what was coming at him through the fight’s remaining 33 minutes.
Manny Pacquiao is not Ruslan Provodnikov. Chris Algieri effectively took away the brute’s club, who then found himself unable to summon another method of combat. Let’s also not forget that one ringside judge as well as many pundits within the boxing industry had Algieri as the loser that night. It’s quite possible that many stopped watching the fight itself and glued their eyes more so on the guy who should have been out of commission.
In any case, the fight looks as if its a perfect example as to why we wouldn’t take kindly to a system of boxing comparable to a football playoff competition. The sanctioning bodies within the sport take matters to headache inducing heights at times. Still, it is what it is and we have what we have for tomorrow night. Death by a thousand punches from a man who fights like a hailstorm and not an avalanche. We may not get a pure knockout, but the love felt by Algieri’s corner will likely play a deciding factor.