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Algieri is convinced he can defeat Pacquiao, but will he?

(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)

By John J. Raspanti


Put your future in good hands — your own. ~ Author Unknown.

Chris Algieri’s brimming confidence appears to be getting under the skin of Manny Pacquaio’s trainer, Freddie Roach.

"Chris is so cocky, I’m tired of him," Roach told the Inquirer.net several days ago.

Pacquiao, who meets Algieri this Saturday in Macao, China, seems more amused than bothered by the upstart New Yorker.

"He’s just a boy," Pacquiao said with a smile before a pack of local and international journalists Tuesday.

In other words, he doesn’t know any better.


Algieri’s rise from club fighter to headline maker started last February when he faced Emanuel Taylor on ESPN’S Friday Night Fights. Though undefeated, Algieri entered the fight as an underdog.

He boxed well, winning seven out of the ten rounds on two judges’ scorecards, and eight on another.

The victory surprised everyone but Algieri.

Four months later, the 30-year-old Algieri was back in the ring to face WBO welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov.

Labelled a 10-1 long-shot by the odds makers, Algieri shook off two knockdowns and a damaged left eye to sneak past Provodnikov by split decision. Though some complained about the scoring, no one could deny the gutsy performance put forth by Algieri.

The victory earned Algieri, the chance of a lifetime. If he can defeat Pacquiao, an eight-division champion, he’d become the most talked about boxer in the sport.

CLICK HERE for:
 Radio Rahim’s Q&A w/ Freddie Roach

A few weeks ago the promoters billed Algieri as a “real-Rocky” because of his improbable rise to world championship level. It’s a great story, but as a Roach reminded us via an interview with our very own Radio Rahim (MaxBoxing / Dog House Boxing), “This aint a f***ing movie.”

Algieri’s plan of attack is simple.

"I expect to go out there and control everything," he told Newsday.com "That includes my opponent. Control, control, control. That’s what this sport is all about."

The sport is also about talent—and Pacquiao, 35, has shown an abundance of ability for over ten years now. Victories over Marco Antonio Barrera, Eric Morales, Oscar De la Hoya, Rickey Hatton, Miguel Cotto, and Shane Mosley cemented his legendary career.

Pacquiao might not be the same fighter who brutally knocked out Hatton, but he’s still a force that Algieri has yet to face.

"I’m not predicting a knockout, but I’m looking for a good fight and to prove I can still fight,” said Pacquiao.

Algieri is aware of what he’s getting into.

“You have to be in phenomenal shape to beat a legend like Pacquiao,” Algieri said. “He’s in great shape, and he brings a lot of speed and angles. You have to be ready for anything.”

The fact that Algieri’s faith in his own abilities is bothering the Pacquiao camp is surprising.

A fighter has to believe, even if nobody else does, that he can win a fight. If he lacks confidence, he might as well not even bother to show up.

Boxing is the ultimate individual sport.

Most fighters are dreamers. Early in their careers they’re driven by something only they can see. They strive, work and persevere. They also believe. They have to.

Does Algieri sincerely think he can upset Pacquiao?

Yes.

Will he?

Probably not, but no matter what happens, that faith in himself remains.



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