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Chris Algieri stoked by history with southpaws vs. Manny Pacquiao

15
Oct

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Undefeated junior welterweight Chris Algieri claims to have faced seven southpaws and that he never has had a problem solving any of them.

And while admitting that his next opponent, Manny Pacquiao, represents the most unique abilities of any southpaw he will have encountered, Algieri remains encouraged by his history with left-handers nonetheless.



“I don’t think that anybody has faced a guy with Manny Pacquiao’s style. Manny is his own style and his own person. There is not really anybody out there who fights quite like him,” said Algieri, 30. “But this is my seventh southpaw though that I’ve fought, so that’s nothing new to me. I’ve worked with tons of speed guys in the gym and the thing about speed is that I’m not a slow guy myself.”

A rising WBO 140-pound titleholder, Algieri (20-0, 8 knockouts) will fight for the WBO welterweight belt held by Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) at a catchweight of 144 pounds.

Algieri was an underdog in his last bout in June, when he overcame a right eye that was nearly closed shut for a dramatic split decision victory that dethroned Ruslan Provodnikov for his title.

Pacquiao was last in action in April when he dethroned Tim Bradley by unanimous decision to regain the belt he lost to Bradley in June 2012. Between the first bout with Bradley and the Rios fight, Pacquiao, 35, was stopped in the sixth round in December 2012 by Juan Manuel Marquez, against whom Pacquiao is 2-1-1.

Among the southpaws Algieri has vanquished are Eric Rodriguez, Curtis Smith and Wilfredo Acuna, in succession, by third-round knockout, unanimous decision and seventh-round stoppage.

“My coach, Tim Lane is actually a southpaw. He’s a lefty. So, we’ve never had a problem dealing with southpaws in the past and Tim knows all of the southpaw tricks and how do deal with them,” said Algieri, whose professional debut was a third-round knockout of left-handed Ken Dunham in April 2008.

“It’s just that when you are talking about southpaws in general, it’s dealing with punches from that angle and getting used to a right hook as opposed to a left hook and to a straight left hand coming down the pipe with power or the jab from that side and getting comfortable with that.”

Algieri won’t say he can match Pacquiao’s speed as much as neutralize it with well-timed counters.

“It’s timing that beats speed and that’s really what boxing is all about. It’s about rhythm and timing,” said Algieri, who has been training within a private gym at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. “We have a couple of guys in camp who are very similar in size. They’re quick-handed and they do a lot of the same technical things that Manny does.”

Among Algieri’s sparring partners is Michael Brooks, a nearly 5-7 Long Island-based lightweight with a record of 10-2-1 and just two knockouts.

“No one has the complete package but I have a guy from New York named Mike ‘Lefty’ Brooks. He’s 5-6, and the perfectly sized opponent,” said Algieri. “Brooks is a tough, durable guy and then, we’ve got a couple of other guys who were in Bradley’s camp and sparring partners that he used for Pacquiao. They’re coming out next week.”

Pacquiao is reportedly training at a weight of 147 pounds, just three over the bout’s contracted 144-pound catchweight.

“Weight’s never an issue with me. Whatever the weight is, I will make it and I’ll be strong and have great conditioning. That’s never an issue. And in terms of what he weighs, I could care less,” said Algieri. “It makes no difference to me. My approach is that I don’t worry about what Manny does. I don’t need to worry about what Manny is doing for me to be successful. I have to go out there and be myself and use my game plan and let Manny worry about me and not the other way around.”

As part of the promotional press tour, Algieri and Pacquiao spent Aug. 25 in Macao and Aug. 26 in Shanghai, giving the American an opportunity to experience and overcome jet lag.

“I was in Macao for two days, and in Shanghai for two-and-a-half days. I felt fine. I travel well because I’ve been traveling a lot since I was a kid. So I slept most of the flight and we got there and we trained every day while we were there,” said Algieri, who expects to land in China on Nov. 12.

“I felt that by the third day that I was completely acclimated and that I had no problems adjusting to the time or sleeping. I felt good throughout my training sessions, so I’m really not concerned about the situation or about acclimating out there. I’ll be ready to go come fight night.”

 

Photo Credit: Chris Farina/Top Rank Promotions

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