If and when all i's are dotted, and t's are crossed, and Chris Algieri is officially announced as the next foe for Manny Pacquiao, Pacman trainer Freddie Roach will be tasked with getting the Congressman into fighting form, physically and mentally, for the rangy mover from Long Island.
And part of that effort will be to make damned sure Manny isn't thinking Algieri is a powder puff pushover.
Me, I'm guessing that Manny wouldn't fall prey to that thinking, not after seeing Algieri show a lion's heart and the caginess of a hyena in getting the better of Ruslan Provodnikov on June 14 in Brooklyn.
"Algieri won a world title, that doesn't happen every day, that doesn't happen by accident," Roach told me, when I asked if he thought Algieri was "just" a "runner."
Roach said that in fact, he thinks that maybe the Siberian Rocky Provodnikov may have underestimated then 19-0 Algieri a tiny bit. "And he didn't have his best night," Freddie noted, something that I pondered that evening, as I thought I had seen Ruslan a bit crisper, a bit more lively, in prior outings. "Ruslan was looking for the one punch KO too much. Those early knockdowns got him a little excited. And Algieri is popular in NY. I thought (and still think) my guy did enough to win, by a little bit…but it was a close fight."
Roach told me if and when Algieri nails down the Manny slot, after his promoter JoeDeGuardia hashes out final terms with Bob Arum, he'll still sort of wish that Algieri would be facing Provodnikov in a rematch, ASAP. "I'd rather that than the fight with Manny," he stated. "But Bob Arum said that Algieri is the one. Stylewise, I'll have to change Manny's mindset. He doesn't like movers. He's better when guys come right at him. Algieri should be in good shape and we can't take this fight lightly."
That brings me to a final point; me, I'm liking this clash of styles, and believe I will be watching with fierce interest when Manny and the New Yorker bang gloves. You might say that is because I am a New York guy. You could be right…but I don't think you are. Mark these words…the majority of you folks announcing on Twitter that you won't buy the PPV will indeed buy it, because if you don't you will risk not being able to say you watched it when the "mover" from NY became a real "mover" and shaker when he outboxes the Congressman. Will that definitely happen? C'mon, I'm no majestic prognosticator. But I see there being enough doubt in the air, enough of a possibility, that reason dictates I must watch. I wouldn't counsel you to do so; that's not my job. But I do counsel you have an open mind on this one, and see the possibility that the underdog just might do it again, pull off a bigger shocker than he managed against Provodnikov.
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Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?