Only a few months ago the most die-hard of boxing fan would struggle to recognise the name of Chris Algieri. However, after an impressive point’s decision victory over Ruslan Provodnikov, the 30-year-old finds himself as the unlikely opponent of Manny Pacquiao on Nov 22.
Last time out, Algieri gained respect across the globe by getting off the canvas twice in the first round to overcome a relentless Provodnikov. In clinching a split decision victory, the New Yorker showed grit and determination in the closing rounds by pushing past physical boundaries in the form of a severely damaged left eye. His reward wasn’t only being crowned the WBO light welterweight champion, but the opportunity to compete against one of the sport’s most lucrative superstars.
Algieri doesn’t have a conventional boxing background, growing up in a middle class family and showing his talents outside of the ring in the form of a master’s degree. The Huntington boxer has slowly but surely earned his stripes in boxing, building a 20-fight unbeaten streak over a seven-year period. However, Nov 22 is Algieri’s defining moment, having the chance to prove himself on a global platform he could never imagine, facing eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao was once the pinnacle of the sport, lighting up the Welterweight Division and destroying everything in his path. Although a year and a half ago, the Filipino was brought crashing back down to reality with a devastating knockout loss to the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez. Many suggested that the 35-year-old should retire after such a loss, but a humble Pacquiao remains determined to climb back to the top of the boxing ladder.
In Pacquiao’s last fight, he successfully avenged his controversial defeat to Timothy Bradley with a dominant display in the rematch. On Nov 22, you get the sense Pacquiao is looking to gain further revenge, by way of defeating Algieri who dealt his former sparring partner Provodnikov a damaging loss.
Against Pacquiao, Algieri will be dealing with unfamiliar territory, not only being his first blockbuster fight, but he's fighting outside of America for the first time. “Pacman” continues to cash in on his global popularity by making the Venetian Resort in Macao, China, his new proverbial home. Although it’s unlikely that will faze the New Yorker - after all he is receiving his career highest pay-cheque at just over one million US Dollars - and the chance to become a two-weight world champion.