Pacman not in a mood to gamble with Chris Algieri
Manny Pacquiao used to come to Macau often. Not to fight, but to play in the casinos which rake in more revenue than their namesakes in Las Vegas.
That was before he found politics, basketball and God.
The only boxer ever to win world titles in eight weight divisions recalls: “Back when I loved to gamble I was here a lot.”
This time the PacMan is here to fight Chris Algieri.
The American is five years younger, three-and-a-half inches taller, undefeated and a world light-welter champion.
Not only is Pacquiao’s world welterweight title at stake, but his hopes of a potential billiondollar fight with Floyd Mayweather next year. So could this be a bigger gamble than any wager he laid in his partly misspent youth? Not really, it seems.
This time he has done the road work, the thousand sit-ups a day, the hundreds of rounds of sparring and he says: “There is no pressure because of what could happen with Floyd. I am fully focused on Algieri.
“I’m back to how I felt a few years ago. Fit, fast, strong. I’m not taking Chris lightly. I’m not looking past him. Only God predicts what will happen but I am confident. “I have worked to bring back the early days, those when I was at my best and finished fights early.’ At 35, he feels 26 again. There was talk of distraction when, as a Philippines congressman, he announced his intention to run for senate.
Then, as a 5ft 6½in boxer, he took over a basketball team. But trainer Freddie Roach confirms: “We negotiated an agreement. I know Manny needs to be busy in many areas so we gave him a pass for one basketball game and then he committed to training for this fight the way he used to in what people regard as his prime. Now he’s as ready as he’s ever been.’
If they are right, this is bad news for Algieri, who displays no doubt that he can pull off one of the prize-ring’s major upsets.
“Manny is one of the greats but I have the skills to defeat him,’ he says.
At which, the PacMan smiles. Kindly, but convinced he holds all the chips. And utterly impervious to the temptations of the gaming floor at the Venetian Hotel. – Daily Mail
Live on SuperSport 7 on Sunday at 4am
FISTS OF FURY: Manny Pacquiao (left) and Chris Algieri during a press conference at The Venetian.