Freddie Roach is confident that Manny Pacquiao can deal with the height and range of opponent Chris Algieri on Saturday night as the Filipino gears up for the first defense of his WBO welterweight title in his second spell as champion.
Pacquiao has enjoyed quality sparring in build-up to the fight with 140lb titlist Algieri and Roach has mapped out a firm gameplan on how to nullify the New Yorker’s attributes on fight night.
“Algieri has a great jab. The jab is the best punch in boxing – guys like Virgil Hill and Larry Holmes won world titles with the jab, so it’s something we really have to concentrate on. We have to take that jab away from him and we have a game plan on how to do that,” said Roach.
“The thing is Manny is a lot faster. Algieri has some speed but he is not as fast as Manny Pacquiao. Manny has been watching tapes and so forth and I have been watching kick-boxing matches also. He’s a tall guy and he comes to fight and that’s what we are getting ready for.”
Talk of Pacquiao eventually moving down to 140lbs or even 135lbs again has resurfaced recently and Roach gave his views on why the fight with Algieri is taking place at a catchweight of 144lbs.
“When you are fighting a 147-pounder and you only weigh 135 yourself or 140, you are in there against much stronger guys and Manny only has two knockouts as a welterweight and he has a lot of knockouts at 135 and 140. The thing is this is a catch-weight of 144, and if he feels good at 144 we may go to 140 again.
“At 140, he will be a better puncher than at 147 because the guys are smaller and not as strong.”
Algieri’s coach Tim Lane on the other hand, says the fight is not all about what Manny Pacquiao will do in the ring and that his boxer is in prime position to make a real name for himself in Macau.
“Chris has been handling the pressure like there is no pressure,” said Lane. “There is a lot of relaxation and meditation and ice baths after workouts.
“This is the Chris Algieri Show, like I said before, this is what he had visualized for years and now he has the situation the way he has always dreamt about having it.
“This is a dream come true so there is no pressure. There is great energy and Chris is feeding off all of it and he is stronger than ever.”