Cape Town - With talk hotting up that a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather jnr fight is in the works, anything but a Pacquiao win against unbeaten Chris Algieri in Macau this weekend would be a calamity.
Pac-Man (56-5-2, 38 KOs) puts his WBO welterweight title on the line against the slick American, who out-hustled tough Ruslan Provodnikov in April to earn his title crack in a fight.
Despite having fought professionally for almost 20 years, Pacquiao shows no signs of slowing down. Having won titles across eight weight divisions, his journey to superstar status has been almost seamless. There have been bumps along the way, but his recent form has been encouraging.
Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) wouldn’t be in Macau but for his upset of Provodnikov. He had no amateur experience to speak of and migrated to boxing only after losing interest in kickboxing, where he a world champion.
Provodnikov had him on the deck twice in the first round, which is sure to excite Pacquiao, a better than average puncher.
It is a huge step up for the native New Yorker, who will soon discover that his southpaw opponent is faster, stronger and more skilled than him.
Algieri, who has a Master’s degree, is taller and fights well from a distance, but hasn’t mixed with anyone remotely in Pacman’s class.
“He’s a cocky kid,” said Freddie Roach, trainer of Pacquiao. “He’s in over his head. That Master’s degree in nutrition is not gonna help him. I don't care how many protein shakes he drinks a day, Manny is gonna kick his [butt].”
Boxing, though, is littered with upsets and Algieri could care less about Pacman’s likely date with Mayweather. He has a habit of upsetting the odds and will be looking to do as much in one of the gambling capitals of the world.
The fight will be broadcast live on SuperSport 7 from 04:00 on Sunday.