“The first thing I learned in boxing is to not get hit. That’s the art of boxing. Execute your opponent without getting hit. In sports school, we were putting our hands behind our backs and having to defend ourselves with our shoulders, by rolling, by moving round the ring, moving out feet.”
By Alex P. Vidal
WE were surprised to find out that Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) was heavier than Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) during the official weigh in a day before their 12-round battle for the WBO welterweight title in Macao on November 22.
Pacquiao was 143.8; Algieri 143.6.
If the opponent is not heavy and moves like a rabbit, he can be a difficult target.
A moving object is always hard to hit.
If the moving vehicle with a full tank does not carry heavy passengers, its speed is like a bullet in the Ventura highway.
Even if they will dispute the WBO 147-lb title in a 144 lbs or “catch weight”, we always expected Pacquiao’s opponent to be heavier.
Antonio Margarito, one of the two other tallest trees in Pacquiao’s forest at five feet and 11 inches, weighed 150 pounds as against Pacquiao’s 144.5 pounds when they disputed the WBC light middleweight crown in Arlington, Texas on Nov. 13, 2010.
Oscar De La Hoya, the other giant opponent at five feet and 11 and a half inches, weighed 145 pounds as against Pacquiao’s 142 pounds when they battled for the IBO light welterweight tiara in Las Vegas on December 6, 2008.
Another tall customer, Brandon Rios, weighed 146 and a half pounds as against Pacquiao’s 145 pounds when they rumbled for the WBO international welterweight bauble in Macao on Nov. 24, 2013.
Timothy Bradley was 145.5 pounds while Pacquiao was 145 pounds when they fought in a rematch for WBO welterweight championship in Las Vegas on April 12, 2014.
During fight day, their weights are always expected to balloon as they immediately fill up their empty stomachs with juice drinks and heavy meals to replenish the body.
We expect Pacquiao and Algieri to weight at 147 to 149 pounds before the bell rings.
In any weight category, the heavier boxer is the slower.
No one is giving Algieri the benefit of the doubt to score a one-punch knockout against the Filipino KO artist owing to his not-so-impressive ring ledger.
But the lighter Algieri, standing five feet and 10 inches, will be a difficult moving target.
Computer statistics of his previous bouts revealed Algieri’s work rate increases as the fight moves on to the final stanza.
The volume of Algieri’s punches, as the bout progresses, should not be taken for granted.
Experts consider the New Yorker as “a very intelligent fighter” who has channeled his brains to prizefighting.
An intelligent fighter knows what is best and what is dangerous for him.
It is dangerous for Algieri to engage Pacquiao in a slugfest.
It is best for him to weave and bob, sidestep when trapped in the corner, use Ali’s rope a dope tactic, and utilize a lot of lateral movements.
With a longer reach and legs, he can survive and live another day until 12 rounds if he can avoid Pacquiao’s early kamizake-like assault which includes a left hook and right uppercut.
“Knowing he doesn’t have one-punch power, Algieri smartly has utilized incredible volume and lateral movement to forge his undefeated record,” reported the Compubox.
“In winning the title from Provodnikov, Algieri averaged 82.8 punches per round to Provodnikov’s 64.7 and his jab was particularly busy (47.2 thrown, nearly twice the 24.7 junior welterweight norm) and effective (9.2 connects per round was nearly twice the 140-pound average).
“Despite his Basilio-esque swelling Algeri never lost heart and the result were wide gaps in connects across the board (288-205 overall, 111-41 jabs, 177-164 power; 29%-26% overall, 20%-12% jabs, 41%-38% power).”
Pacquiao will have lot of running to do to cut the ring and catch the tall rabbit for his first KO win after eight fights (six wins by decision and two losses).
The memory of the 6th round KO lost to nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez is still very much in his mind, thus Pacquiao, 35, can’t afford to underestimate Algieri, 30, even if the American was able to score only eight stoppages in 20 victories.
Algieri will have a lot of adjustments to make since he will be fighting a lefty who can disarrange a bull’s set of teeth with a single punch.
He is prepared to ride in a bicycle and use his footwork diligently to avoid losing a single tooth.
Referee Genaro Rodriguez probably has prepared to run around for 12 rounds as we expect the clash to finish the full route with Pacquiao winning by unanimous decision.