Chris Algieri on facing Manny Pacquiao: ‘I want to show that I belong’
HBO has provided the second week of training blogs taken from interviews on Monday with Manny Pacquiao and Chris Algieri in advance of their Nov. 22 pay-per-view headliner in Macao, China, site of Pacquiao’s unanimous decision over Brandon Rios last November.
Standing 5-foot-10 compared to Pacquiao’s nearly 5-7, Algieri (20-0, 8 knockouts) was last in the ring for a split decision that dethroned Ruslan Provodnikov for the WBO’s 140-pound belt.
Algieri rose from three first-round knockdowns and fought with a right eye that was nearly closed shut against Provodnikov. Algieri will challenge Pacquiao at a 144-pound catchweight in his first professional appearance on foreign soil.
Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) is 2-2 in his past four fights, including a loss by disputed split decision against Tim Bradley in June of 2012 and another by sixth-round stoppage against Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012. In his last fight in April, Pacquiao, 35, regained his WBO welterweight title by unanimously decision over Bradley.
ALGIERI: ‘I WANT TO SHOW THAT I BELONG HERE’
Questions for Algieri: What type of challenges come with preparing for a fight on another continent with a much different start time? What’s at stake for the winner inside the welterweight division? What are your goals for the future in boxing?
“It just means you have to do a lot more time management in terms of scheduling and thinking ahead. You can’t just wing it but I don’t do that with any part of my training anyways, so it is of no concern to me. Also, we will be fighting at noon over there and that is exactly what time I always spar, so that will actually be better for me.
“I am a morning person, so being able to fight during the day will actually play in my favor. This is the top of the sport. The winner here goes on to make the biggest fights that are possible, not only the welterweight division but in all of boxing. A win will propel me into the top of the pound-for-pound ratings and be viewed as one of the best fighters in all of boxing.
“At this point, I want the biggest fights out there. I have spent a long time fighting off TV and outside of the public eye. Now I want that exposure and I want to fight the biggest names out there in boxing. I want to show that I belong here. It has taken me a long time to get to this point and I don’t plan on leaving now that I am here.”
PACQUIAO: ‘WHEN I FIGHT IN MACAO, I FEEL LIKE I AM PLAYING A HOME GAME’
Question for Pacquiao: Is fighting in China helping boxing’s popularity? Why China vs. Las Vegas?
“Asia is a fertile market for boxing. The sport has been very popular in the Philippines, Japan and Southeast Asia for a long time but China, with its billions in population, has long been an untapped source for potential boxing fans. Boxing owes a great debt to Zou Shiming, China’s two-time Olympic gold medalist, for opening his homeland to boxing by fighting professionally at the Venetian Macao these past two years.
“Shiming has sold out the Cotai Arena every time he has fought there while allowing fighters like me to share his cards and display our talents to his enormous fan base – both in-person and throughout the country on television. There’s even a new televised boxing show which was developed from the popularity of the Venetian Macao shows.
“I love fighting in the United States. I have fought many fights in Las Vegas but when I fought Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito at Cowboys Stadium, it added a whole new dynamic to the event. Not only did fans from the Dallas-Fort Worth area get to experience boxing at a world championship level but millions of fans tuned in to see those two fights because they took place at Cowboys Stadium.
“It was exhilarating. The same is true fighting in Macao, China. Fans from all over the world are watching my fights at the Venetian Macao not just because of the fight itself but because they want to see a live event from China. And the billions in China now have the opportunity to watch world championship boxing on their own national and regional networks. That is a lot of exposure for fighters and for sponsors of boxing events held there.
“It is also tapping into a new segment of athletes which can only improve the sport and its popularity. Every country loves to root for their own athletes and by having more Chinese fighters in the professional ranks, more Chinese fans will begin following our sport and making it a bigger international attraction. I love fighting in Las Vegas but when I fight in Macao, I feel like I am playing a home game. Macao is only a 90-minute flight from the Philippines.
“So many of my countrymen are able to attend where the expense of traveling to the U.S. may have been too much for them. Fans from Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe filled the Cotai Arena the last time I fought there and that was a great experience. And the Chinese fans were so enthusiastic. It was a wonderful experience to fight for them. The biggest difference between fighting in Las Vegas and fighting in Macao is that virtually all the fans are in their seats before the first bout begins. They really love their boxing in Macao.