Manny Pacquiao needs a dance partner for his November 22nd date, and New Yorker Chris Algieri, last seen giving a lesson in perseverance and top-level pugilism and ring generalship against Ruslan Provodnikov on June 15, is willing to rumble with the Congressman.
If he can secure what he believes is a reasonable payday for his effort.
The 30-year-old Long Islander has been busy as all heck enjoying the spoils of his win against the feared Siberian in Brooklyn, and that includes a stint on the CBS show "Unforgettable" on an episode which ran on Sunday night. He told me that he won't give up the day job, for Hollywood, and that he's keen on tackling Pacman. He'll even go to Macau to do the violent waltz: "If the deal is proper, I am in. I am a world champion----pay me."
Indeed he is; the WBO 140 pound crown resides in his Huntington, Long Island home. But Algieri (20-0 with 8 KOs) isn't a brawler with a tunnel vision mindset fixed on getting the fight at all costs. No, the fighter owns a Bachelor's and Master's degrees, and is no dummy when it comes to doing the research to gauge his worth.
"I'm tough, not stupid," the boxer told me. "My risks have been calculated--time to get what I deserve. I have options."
Promoter Joe DeGuardia has been back and forth the last few weeks with Pacman's promoter, Bob Arum, and is getting an assist from old Arum pal ArtiePelullo. Pelullo has a piece of Algieri's contract, secured when he put his guy Provodnikov in with the junior welter who looked on the road to being a quickie steamrolled victim, but re-set his faculties, and then boxed a master class in Brooklyn.
Algieri didn't dispute it when I probed and described the current offer on the table from Top Rank to meet the 36-in-December-year-old 56-5-2 Filipino, as a seven figure deal. I get the sense it's a low seven-figure deal, and he'd like the pot to be bolstered. The fight would be in China, he said, and the contracted weight would be over his current class of 140 pounds, which he said he makes with no worry. The travel is no impediment, but he could secure some good scraps at 140, and continue to build his brand, so I get the sense he isn't feeling like he has to latch on to the current terms offered by Arum.
Life is tribal and sports are tribal, and marketers do like to have options to sell to, and when searching for a telegenic person to pitch a product or service. People do tend to root for those that look and talk like them, and could the Caucasian hitter from New York fill a niche that has been hard to find in the last few decades? Indeed he could…and I think he knows it. He knows he doesn't NEED to be a "B-side," and is quite rightly immensely proud of himself for gaining that WBO strap: "I am a world champion…that should be a substantial payday, no?"
Rhetorical question, friends…
You'll recall that Manny Pacquiao's last fight came against Tim Bradley. Bradley was guaranteed $6 million for that scrap. The fight before that, foe Brandon Rios was guaranteed $4 million to travel to Macau and fight the Congressman. Juan Manuel Marquez was guaranteed $6 million when he tangled with Pacman in December 2012, while Bradley was guaranteed $5 million in his first fight with Pacman, in June 2012. You can quibble and take issue and debate this compare and contrast, and note that the Provodnikov was Algieri's' first mega-rodeo event. But Algieri isn't really having it…
"Bradley was another undefeated world champion (in the first fight), like myself," he told me. "And I'm more marketable and just beat the most feared man in the sport. For short money." Algieri continued: "Rios (entering the Pacquiao bout) was coming off a loss to a man (Mike Alvarado) that Provodnikov destroyed. And I beat Provodnikov, by a wide margin, in my opinion."
Money matters aside, I delved into what the Pacquiao-Algieri fight might look like. Manny moves way better than Ruslan…could that prove to be a problem? Is it a 50-50 fight, in his eyes?
"Nope," said Algieri, a former kickboxer who built a 20-0 record as a pro. "I win. I'm bigger, longer, stronger. I'm not a stupid fighter. Skills pay the bills."
LOL, and it came back around to money. Yep, bills need to get paid. And to engage in this most dangerous game which in fact is not game at all, boxers deserve to get paid handsomely. How handsome a stack would Algieri need to get 'er done? Handsomer than is on the table now…
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Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?