A likeable foe for Pacquiao
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.
“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.
“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.
* * *
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.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.