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A likeable foe for Pacquiao

/ 02:09 AM September 21, 2014

MANY Filipinos’ loyalty will be  torn  between countryman Manny Pacquiao and opponent Chris Algieri  when  the  two  come face-to-face at  Cotai Arena at  The Venetian Macao Resort to fight  for  the WBO welterweight title which Pacquiao currently holds.

So far, I  have  yet   to  encounter  someone  who  has  met  the  30-  year-old WBO junior welter champion Algieri and was not  charmed  by  him.

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“He is  so  nice, such  a  gentleman, so  easy to like,”  said boxing  scribe  Nick Giongco,  who  covered  the  promotional  press tour  in China and  other cities  last  month.

Giongco said Algieri is  different   from   Pacquiao’s  other  opponents—and  other  boxers  for  that  matter—because  he  is so  articulate  and highly  educated.

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“You  can  tell  by  the way  he  speaks  that  he is well-bred too,”  said Giongco of  the handsome American who has Italian  and  Argentine genes.

ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo,  who  has  catalogued almost all Pacquiao  fights,  seconds  the  motion.

“Algieri  is  intelligent,  speaks  well and  is  muy  simpatico,”  she  said.

The  former wrestler/kickboxer (he was  world  kickboxing champion)    has  a Bachelor’s degree  in  Health  Care Science from  the Stony Brook University in New York.   He  also  holds  a post-graduate degree from the New York Institute of Technology.

He said  it  was  his  ambition  to  go  to  medical  school, combine  his   knowledge of nutrition  and  his  experience as a world-class  athlete  to  device  a  practice  that  will  eliminate unnecessary  surgery in active  athletes.

Pacquiao  remains, however, as   the hands-down  favorite  in  the November  tiff,  which  is Algieri’s  biggest  fight  in his  career.

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Although Gilas Pilipinas  won  only one  game (against Senegal),   its  fame   and  popularity skyrocketed  to  immeasurable  heights  after  the  the recent Fiba World Cup  in Seville, Spain.

This  I  saw  for  myself  during  the sendoff celebration  for  the  team  last Wednesday at  Max’s  restaurant outside Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The  fans practically  went hysterical  at  the  sight of  their  national  heroes.

“This  surge  in popularity  has   resulted  in  a demand  for a  replay   of  Kwentong Gilas,” TV5  president and CEO Noel Lorenzana told  the  media.

“Kwentong Gilas”   is a documentary of heartwarming stories   about  the Gilas players.

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TAGS: Cotai Arena, fight, Pacquiao, WBO
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