MACAU – There was a telling difference between the two men who stood right in front of the media assembly late Wednesday night.
Manny Pacquiao looked cool, calm and collected while Chris Algieri appeared the exact opposite: tight, taut and tense.
As fight week draws to a climactic close, Pacquiao conducted himself the way the world has seen him the past several years, jovial and full of color but not one to talk to trash.
Algieri, who attempts to knock the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown off Pacquiao’s head at around lunchtime on Sunday, has suddenly become tight-lipped, a far cry from the very vocal and articulate individual who filled up a reporter’s notebook in a snap.
In fact when it was Algieri’s turn to take the podium, the 30-year-old New Yorker declared that “the talking is done” and that he is instead raring to get the job done.
“The hard work is done. The training is done. I’m not gonna say too much…I prepared very well. I’m excited for this weekend…you don’t want to miss this.”
But moments earlier, Algieri was in his element, engaging a slew of writers from here, the US, the Philippines, Mexico, England and Hong Kong and mainland China in a lively Q&A and telling them how he expects to emerge victorious.
Algieri, 5-10, has a four-inch height advantage and believes this will propel him past the Filipino eight-division world champion, not to mention that he has less wear and tear.
“I am 30 years old but I am a young 30,” said Algieri, stressing that age could be a factor” in his quest to ruin Pacquiao’s future plans.
While Pacquiao has vast experience in high-profile championships fights, it also has its heavy downside.
Two years ago, Pacquiao suffered a smashing sixth-round knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez and he had struggled score a stoppage win the last five years, casting doubts on his capability to regain his old and fiery form.
Although the unheralded Algieri lacks Pacquiao’s massive exposure, he is a fighter on his way up, a situation reminiscent of the time when Pacquao was still building his fanbase.
But Pacquiao insists he is far from being damaged goods, assuring everyone that the vintage Pacquiao will be unveiled in two days time.
“We did our best in training and we’ve seen from the old days the speed, the power, the determination, the aggressiveness is back,” said Pacquiao, who turns 36 on Dec. 17.
As Pacquiao was saying those words, Algieri just sat there, pensive and probably beginning to realize the odd scene he had thrust himself into.
It seemed that Algieri is aware that the roof is about to cave in.