Pacquiao vs. Algieri: Beyond the numbers

Milan Ordoñez on Nov 22, 2014 07:52 PM
Pacquiao vs. Algieri: Beyond the numbers

On November 23rd, Sunday morning in Macau, China, Manny Pacquiao will be embarking upon his 64th fight over the course of a 19-year career. He will be gunning for his 57th victory against a no-nonsense opponent in Chris Algieri.

On paper, such a match-up is a definite head-scratcher. An undefeated, yet relatively unknown world champion battling a living legend, easily within the exalted ranks of Ali, Leonard, Patterson, and Robinson. But when placed under the microscope, the reasoning behind the making of this bout can definitely be deciphered, at the very least.

Superficially, one could handily conclude that Chris Algieri’s five-inch reach advantage can trouble Manny Pacquiao. Naturally an outside fighter, the 30-year old fighter from Huntington, New York usually works off the variety of jabs in his arsenal to set-up his combinations.

Ideally, it would be best for Algieri to keep the pace of a boxing match and throw combinations at the right time, instead of trying to stand and trade with Pacquiao’s punches. But as history foretells, Manny Pacquiao is no stranger to inside fighting. His bouts with Antonio Margarito, Oscar De La Hoya and Joshua Clottey prove that at 5’6”, “Pacman” can definitely hold his own against bigger opponents, wherever the fight may be.

In fact, Freddie Roach even sees this as an advantage, and rightfully so, a shorter fighter can give his taller opponent a few headaches once he gets his rhythm when he closes the distance. Common boxing knowledge dictates that in order to neutralize a lengthier opponent’s advantages, the shorter fighter must effectively cut the ring off to avoid being in the receiving end of a flurry of punches. Ruslan Provodnikov, who is another fighter off the Wild Card stable, coincidentally faced Algieri in June, in a barnburner of a twelve-rounder for the WBO light welterweight strap.

It was Provodnikov’s lateral movement and close-range fighting the proved effective. He was able to dictate the fight’s pace, while scoring a couple of knock downs in the process. Unfortunately for him, Algieri was able to showcase his efficient boxing skills towards the latter rounds, earning him a razor-thin split decision verdict. Of course, Manny Pacquiao is no Ruslan Provodnikov.

The former’s punching power may stand out more, but the latter’s speed, movement, reflexes, and overall experience can spell the difference in this bout. If anything, Chris Algieri will be fighting at the Manny Pacquiao show. The biggest takeaway, however, is that Pacquiao’s legacy is placed at a bigger risk than that of Algieri’s.

A convincing victory is needed for the Filipino champion, and if so, it jolts him up a notch higher to the seemingly elusive Floyd Mayweather mega fight. A defeat, however, brings him closer to the doors of retirement. A classic case of everything to lose, and nothing (much) to gain.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Chris Algieri. Training camp is over and done with, which means all stats are deemed irrelevant. Now, it’s time to scrap.


Follow this writer on Twitter: @Mr_Ordonez




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