Chris Algieri continues his Cinderella story this Saturday when he attempts to wrest the WBO Welterweight belt off Manny Pacquiao’s waist. But as inspiring a story Algieri’s has been so far, does he really have a legitimate shot at Manny Pacquiao?
Let’s find out:
Cinderella Man vs PacMan
Chris Algieri rose from obscurity to become boxing’s Cinderella Man after his stunning upset of the “Siberian Rocky” Ruslan Provodnikov during his June 14th challenge for the WBO light welterweight title. What made that win more impressive was that Algieri rose from two first round knockdowns and fought with a half-closed right eye for 11 rounds to outlast and outpoint the hard hitting Provodnikov.
Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao avenged his controversial split decision loss to Timothy Bradley by dealing Bradley his first ever loss last April. Pacquiao is on a two fight winning streak after back to back losses to Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. But despite defeating Bradley convincingly, Pacquiao has been constantly criticized for his failure to record a knockout since his 2009 fight with Miguel Cotto.
Hungry for Glory
The fight card is dubbed as “Hungry for Glory” but aside from Algieri who’s looking for his first taste of ring glory, it’s Manny Pacquiao who needs a convincing win to silence his critics. Pacquiao’s punching power or the lack thereof in his last eight bouts have been the topic of many debates. But the reason behind the disappearance of the knockout is his weight. Pacquiao’s weighed at least 147 pounds in each but one of his last eight fights. Carrying the extra pounds and fighting at a higher weight class have taken away his natural punching power. However, with the fight against Algieri at a catch weight of 144, we expect to see Pacquiao at full strength and full speed but at an advanced age.
One Last Run
At 35, Pacquiao remains to be one of boxing’s biggest draws despite the obvious decline in the last few years. A big win over Algieri should ignite one last run in his sure hall-of-fame career. The talk of a Floyd Mayweather bout has been re-ignited after Pacquiao’s recovery from his 2012 knockout loss to Marquez but unless Pacquiao makes a statement in this fight, Money Mayweather will always find other reasons not to fight. With this possibility of finally staging the Mega Bout, this isn’t just a must win fight for Pacquiao, it’s one he must win big time.
Against All Odds
Algieri remains a massive +550 underdog against the legendary Pacman who is the favorite at -900. But make no doubt that he is a live opponent and a very dangerous one at that. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Algieri is expected to go all out at Pacquiao.
Physically, Algieri has the tools to upset Pacquiao. At 5-10, he is at least three inches taller than Pacquiao. Add his five inch reach advantage and he could easily avoid Pacquiao’s vaunted left hand by fighting at a distance with his jabs. If Algieri utilizes the ring well, Pacquiao could end up being frustrated chasing an elusive target. The key for Chris Algieri should be avoiding toe to toe exchanges because not even Miguel Cotto could withstand a barrage of Pacman punches. If he can use the ring to his advantage and score from the outside, Algieri’s got a legitimate shot at shocking the world once again on Saturday.