If respected trainer Freddie Roach is to be believed, eight-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao is in for an easy night on Saturday night in what will be the first defense of his newly-regained WBO welterweight title.
Pacquiao, 35, heads into what many see as a warm-up for a shot at WBC and WBA champion at 140lbs, Danny Garcia in the spring, although there are still those staunch supporters of a clash with Floyd Mayweather who won’t give up hope of that fight happening next.
Even though Pacquiao’s opponent Chris Algieri is younger, fresher and undefeated, Roach is adamant that Pacquiao is in for a first stoppage in five years against the New Yorker and even says the fight is unlikely to go past six rounds.
On recent evidence, that statement from Roach seems a doubtful scenario as Algieri proved that he can live with a big puncher and dig himself into the trenches when dethroning Ruslan Provodnikov of his WBO light-welterweight belt earlier this year. Algieri is tall and has an excellent jab, so unless Pacquiao is at his majestic best, the challenger could well run the Filipino close enough to earn the respect he craves from boxing personnel like Roach, along with the rest of the boxing public.
Personally, I am leaning towards a dominant points win for Pacquiao in the same ilk of the recent revenge mission over Timothy Bradley, something which would handily push the ‘Pacman’ on to considerably bigger opportunities in 2015.
Garcia, Amir Khan and (whisper it quietly) Floyd Mayweather Jr. loom on the horizon in the New Year – once Pacquiao deals with an opponent that could prove to be a handful if the student believes to much of his own teacher’s prophecy when the first bell rings in Macau.