MACAU — Manny Pacquiao puts the entire Filipino nation to a standstill Sunday when he faces the ambitious Chris Algieri of the US in a 12-round welterweight title fight at the Cotai Arena that many believe will not go the full route.
The opening bell is estimated at 12:15 p.m. and Pacquiao hinted following the official weigh-in Friday morning that it could very well be a short one.
“Get there early,” said Pacquiao, who will not only be staking his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown but likewise risking the possibility of securing a super showdown with Floyd Mayweather sometime in the first half of 2015.
A massive 7-1 favorite, Pacquiao’s gameplan is already in place and ready to kick in.
From what Pacquiao says, the strategy is for him to push the pedal to the metal as soon as the bell sounds.
“It is still just a 20-foot ring and I would cut all avenues of escape,” said Pacquiao, who will be making his second appearance here following his debut exactly a year ago against Brandon Rios.
While the 5-6 Pacquiao is at least four inches shorter, the 35-year-old fighting congressman believes his huge edge in experience will get him past the 30-year-old former kickboxing champion from New York.
“This is a challenge for me because he is so tall but the difference between us is this: I have been there before and he hasn’t,” he said.
Algieri was catapulted into this after upsetting Pacquiao sparmate Ruslan Providnikov last June in New York.
But Pacquiao feels that he will need more than just that when he steps up the plate.
“I know how I react when the moment of truth comes. Let’s see how he reacts when he has his meeting with destiny.”
During the official weighin for the match that has a catch weight of 144 lbs, Pacquiao easily tipped in at 143.8. That was not the case with Algieri, who had to remove his Calvin Klein boxer brief when he attempted to make the weight.
During his first try with his underwear, Algieri came in at 144.2 lbs. When he attempted the second time wearing nothing but a smile, Algieri had to be covered with a jacket and the flaming red football jersey.
Still, he came in overweight at 144.2 and given two hours to cut down.
It took Algieri, who has a degree in nutrition, about an hour to do so and he scaled in at 143.6.
Algieri said the scales may have been broken because he had weighed in earlier using two scales and came in at 143 and 143.8 in the other.
It could have also been because of the food that he took during breakfast, said Algieri, who had eggs, oatmeal and coffee.
Pacquiao is hoping that the fight that everybody wants to see, a megabuck clash with Mayweather, can finally take place next year.
But he has to get rid of Algieri first and that could entail a lot of energy, his camp said.
Trainer Tim Lane thinks Pacquiao is on the cusp of announcing his retirement and Algieri will make him realize that now is the time.
Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who has called the shots since 2001, doesn’t think so.
“We’re going to take him out,” said Roach, who spent almost two months training Pacquiao in the Philippines.
Roach sees the fight ending with American referee Geno Rodriguez issuing a mercy halt with Algieri possibly looking like somebody had put a lawnmower in his face.
“The referee will stop the fight because Manny’s speed and combinations are just too much for him.”
Pacquiao has a 56-5-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 KOs, while Algieri has a 20-0-0 card with eight KOs.