Roach on Algieri’s chance vs Pacquiao: 0
MACAU—Freddie Roach was brutally frank in assessing Chris Algieri’s chances against Manny Pacquiao in their showdown on Sunday for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown.
“Zero,” Roach told Filipino sportswriters on Friday at the press center of The Venetian Macao, venue of the fight dubbed “Clash in Cotai II.”
While he credits Algieri with having a “lot of heart and a lot of balls,” Roach said the American challenger of Italian-Argentine descent was simply not in Pacquiao’s level.
“They are not in the same class,” said Roach, a six-time trainer of the year. He didn’t have to elaborate.
Algieri may be the WBO light welterweight champion with a 20-0 record but he’s up against a legend in Pacquiao, the WBO welterweight king and the sport’s only eight-division world champion with a 56-5-2 record, including 38 knockouts.
While Algieri’s most recognizable victim was Russian Ruslan Provodnikov, from whom he wrested the title, Pacquiao has beaten the likes of Erik Morales (twice in three fights), Marco Antonio Barrera (twice), Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Juan Manuel Marquez (twice in four fights).
As to the claim of Team Algieri that a knockout victory is on the horizon, Roach just laughed it off.
“No chance. He doesn’t have punching power,” Roach said, unbothered by Algieri’s record of eight knockouts.
Ferocious in training
According to Roach, speed will be the key for Pacquiao to finally score his first stoppage in five years.
“This is his (Pacquiao’s) best chance to score a knockout,” Roach said, noting that the Filipino champ had been so intense and ferocious in training.
Though Algieri’s defense is “pretty good,” Roach thinks Pacquiao will be able to cut him off and land lethal blows.
“He’s really ready and is very vocal about winning (impressively). He wants the world back on his side,” Roach said.
Changes in training
Fact is, Roach said, it was Pacquiao who asked him that they revert to their old training ways, similar to the training they had against Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in Pacquiao’s breakout fight in the United States in 2001.
As a substitute fighter, Pacquiao stopped the South African in six rounds to grab the International Boxing Federation super bantamweight title and begin his ascent to universal acclaim.
“Our partnership is, sort of, getting stale so we did some changes in the gym,” Roach said, noting that they put emphasis on developing strength (by hitting the heavy bags) and speed.
“We also noticed that his punch rate was slipping so we wanted it to go up.”
Roach said Pacquiao would overwhelm Algieri with the sheer volume of his punches.
With Pacquiao weighing 63.5 kg (141 pounds) after Thursday’s workout, Roach sees a faster, more explosive Pacquiao on Sunday.
Listed as a huge 8-1 favorite, Pacquiao intends to put up a show.
And Algieri, even with his movie-star looks, will be relegated to the background.
Hoping for upset
Few believe that the Filipino, surrounded by a 300-plus entourage in Macau, will be seriously troubled by Algieri, who wants to pull off an almighty upset and end the ring career of the Filipino icon and congressman from Sarangani province.
The last man to make such a bold prediction was another American, Brandon Rios, a year ago. Rios instead received a lesson in boxing, speed, agility and power from “Pacman.”
In earlier interviews, Pacquiao said his fight preparations had helped him regain the aggression and power that put away world-class adversaries in his younger days.
“I’m very happy with my training because it was a new birth. It was like back to the old days—my speed and power and determination are back,” Pacquiao said.
Only by stopping Algieri will Pacquiao prove the fearsome “fighter of the decade” in the 2000s is back.
Megafight with Mayweather
If he does, then a potential $1-billion megafight with Floyd “Money” Mayweather may become closer to reality next year.
Pacquiao and Algieri will fight for the WBO welterweight 66.68 kilograms (147 pounds) title at a catchweight limit of 63.5 kg.
Celebrities at ringside
A host of celebrities will be at ringside as promoter Bob Arum aims to show pay-per-view audiences in the United States that the Chinese territory Macau is growing to rival Las Vegas as a fight venue.
Hollywood superstars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have already confirmed they will be here for the fight. With a report from AFP