We are now just hours away from the anticipated match up between eight division world champion, Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao and undefeated rising star, Chris Algieri. On the eve of the night both fighters made weight for the fight, with Pacquiao coming in a 143.8 lbs and Algieri tipping the scales at 143.6lbs. I had a chance to talk to many top level fighters in the sport “On the Ropes” and got their opinions and predictions for the event. I also give my official prediction for Saturday night’s main event. Here is what the stars of boxing had to say.
Former two division world champion – Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios
“Algieri does have tremendous skills, people don’t give him credit. Yes, we know that he doesn’t hit hard, we know that he doesn’t have that power punch, that knockout punch. But he can box, that guy can box his ass off. He can move and he has defensive skills and offensive skills.
I like underdogs, so I’m going for Algieri for this fight. We know it’s not gonna be a knockout but I think he’s just gonna box him, stay on the outside and use his reach”
Reigning WBO lightweight champion – Terence Crawford
“I think Algieri is gonna give Manny problems early in the fight until Manny figures him out, then I think it’s gonna go to the decision.”
Former two time world champion and boxing commentator – Paulie ‘Magic Man’ Malignaggi
“I think stylistically, this fight doesn’t favor Algieri as good as the Provodnikov fight did. Pacquiao and him both go on speed and timing and the boxing aspect of it, instead of the brawling aspect of it. I worry that Pacquiao might be a little too sharp for Chris or just a little quicker than Chris, but we’ll see because Pacquiao is getting up there in age. Chris is a busy guy, we’ll see if he can use his height and kind of negate that in and out range of Pacquiao.
Chris is a pretty tall kid for junior welterweight, even for a welterweight. He says he’s gonna push the pace and Chris is always in very good shape, he’s a fitness guru and I think he’s gone to school for that dietician and stuff like that. He’s a very intelligent guy and knows how to get himself in shape, so we’ll see. Regardless of whatever happens, for Chris it’s a win-win situation because if he doesn’t pull off the upset, he’s still the junior welterweight champion.”
Trainer of the legendary Bernard Hopkins – Brother Naazim Richardson
“It’s gonna be a good fight. Chris Algieri is nothing easy, he’s nothing to be taken lightly. I’ve always leaned towards experience and that’s heavily favored for Pacquiao. But Chris Algieri, we fought on cards with him, this kids conditioning is freakish and he never says die man, he really, really never says die and that poses a problem with a younger, fresher guy. But I lean towards experience; Pacquiao’s experience should take over the fight and then find a way to get past Chris.”
Undefeated light welterweight contender – Lydell Rhodes
“Honestly, I don’t like that fight with Manny because I think Chris Algieri has a bad style for anyone. He’s a tall, athletic dude who can move and he knows how to fight. Some fighters like Amir Khan in the past, he doesn’t know how to fight his style, he has fast hands, he has footwork to move but he sits inside from time to time and throws too many combinations.
Chris Algieri, he doesn’t really commit, he stays on the outside, circles, moves and throws a lot of straight punches. Bad style for anyone, especially for a shorter fighter. Manny on the other hand, he’s a bad style match up for anyone as well, especially for Algieri because he throws a lot of punches and Algieri tends to put both his hands up and blocks rather than slip punches.
Manny throws so many punches, and if you just put your guard up and then go straight back to the ropes like Algieri does, that’s bad with Manny Pacquiao because he can punch and he’s fast, and he throws a lot of punches. That’s only gonna be momentum for Manny, so I see Manny taking that.
Manny can probably get a late stoppage against Algieri, but Algieri is gonna be game and he matches up real good with Manny. I look at it to be really competitive the first couple of rounds, but then the longer it goes in the fight, he might wear on Algieri with all the punches. I can see him getting a late stoppage, maybe 10th or 11th round, but if not, I got Manny unanimous decision.”
Trainer of the year 2012 – Robert Garcia
“I think Pacquiao is still doing really good, he’s got a bright future. Chris Algieri is an awkward boxer that could give him problems. Nobody thought Chris Algieri could beat Provodnikov and he did. He’s one that nobody believes in and could come up with a surprise.
I would be happy for Algieri, he’s a great person, great kid. He trained with me for a couple of fights and he’s a very dedicated person, so I wish him nothing but the best, but the fight’s not easy. The fight is hard, hopefully he does good.”
Former WBA light middlweight champion – Austin ‘No Doubt’ Trout
“I don’t want to talk down to Chris Algieri because they said that about him and Provodnikov and he ended up coming back and beating Provodnikov, and I’m glad they didn’t rob him for that either.
We just have to see how that goes, you know. Algieri is a good boxer, but will he be able to outbox Manny Pacquiao? I don’t personally think so, but again, I didn’t think he was gonna be able to outbox Provodnikov like he did.”
Interim WBA welterweight champion – Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman
“Hey, when you step in the ring and you put gloves on, anybody has a shot. It really all has to do with the training camp. He has a height advantage I believe, he has a reach advantage, the kid showed decent skills. I don’t think he’s unbeatable by any means, but he’s got some talent and he’s made it to the world class stage. If he keeps training like a champion, he may stay a champion.
It is obvious that Manny is favored. We saw what happened with Provodnikov’s power punching, so you would assume that Manny’s power punching would be just as effective, and then Manny’s speed would make it more difficult for Algieri and most likely it’s gonna allow Manny to land more power punches than Provodnikov was able to do when he fought Algieri.
It’s not one that people aren’t really super eager to see or really talk about, but it’s a match nonetheless and there’s a potential upset, once again. He did it once, can he do it twice? That’s the big question.”
Former light welterweight & welterweight champion – Timothy ‘Desert Storm’ Bradley
“They’re not giving him a chance because they don’t know who Chris Algieri is. He had the great match against Provodnikov and then he had another good match against Emanuel Taylor and he looked good there. The fans don’t really know too much about Algieri and he doesn’t have that big name or that hype, so they’re not giving him a chance.
Algieri is what I call a pure boxer, almost like a Paulie Malignaggi in the sense that he uses his movement and he’s long, tall and rangy and he knows how to use his movement. A lot of fans don’t really realize that Algieri is not used to losing, the guy was a kickboxing champion, world champion kickboxer, 20-0. This guy is not used to losing.
Algieri showed in the Ruslan fight that he can make adjustments. He stood there and he got hit, got dropped, got back up and then he figured it out, “Ok I gotta move on this guy.” He did that and he ended up winning the fight against Ruslan Provodnikov. This guy can definitely make adjustments, he definitely has a height and reach advantage going for him in this fight.
We all know that movement frustrates Manny Pacquiao. If he stands there, he’s gonna get obliterated. If he moves on Manny Pacquiao and makes Pacquiao pick up his feet and chase him around, then he has a better chance of winning the fight.”
Award winning boxing radio show host 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2013 – Jenna Jay
I think the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Chris Algieri is a solid fight on paper between two champions from two different weight classes, but even though Algieri has both a height and reach advantage over Pacquiao, I think he lacks the speed and footwork to deal with a athlete of the caliber of Manny Pacquiao. I believe that Algieri will feel the pace of the fight and at the mid way point I believe the speed and frequency of the shots landing will take their toll. I’m predicting that Manny Pacquiao will end up stopping Algieri around the 8th to 9th round. It has been five years since we saw Pacquiao score a knockout and I think this Saturday night he will end that drought and get fans once again clamoring for a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout.