The big day is quickly approaching. Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Chris “The Real Rocky” Algieri collide this Saturday (here) in Macau, China at the Venetian Casino. The undefeated Algieri is expected to suffer his first defeat. Betting odds makers have made him a big underdog. Why?
Well, there are lots of reasons when added together sum up the better fighter. First of all, Manny has accomplished things that no other fighter ever has. He’s won more titles in more weight classes than any other fighter in history. In doing that, he has been in the “big show” many times. The pressure associated with it has already been experienced over and over, so it is no longer a distraction.
Push aside Algieri’s height and reach advantage and zero in on Manny’s speed and power. He can close distance quicker than just about anyone in the game, and he has proven his power remains even when punching up at a taller man, like when he fought Oscar De LaHoya and Antonio Margarito. His speed helped him catch the speedy Timothy Bradley.
Even before his kayo by “the punch”, he was thought to be winning the fight with Juan Manuel Marquez and, since then, he proved against the tough brawler Brandon Rios that he still possesses his boxing ability.
Against Algieri, he will be fighting at a catch weight of 144lbs, a weight he feels will restore his quickness and power. Time will tell whether that is true. What is known to be true is Manny’s ability to deal with just about any style. He can catch the fleet footed ones. He can penetrate the shell of the defensive minded ones. He can out punch the punchers. He has also proved he can take a punch.
So what chance does this upstart from Huntington, NY have? Some feel strongly that he doesn’t belong in the same ring with Manny, that he has come out of no where and ascended to the big stage. In their mind, Algieri doesn’t have the bona fidees.
Not all join in with such condemnations. There’s a good number that feel The Real Rocky demonstrated his worth by beating Emmanuel Taylor and Ruslan Provodnikov. In beating the Siberian Rocky, Algieri demonstrated that he has the strong will needed in a champion. He did what Jack Dempsey said champions do. “They get up when they can’t!”
It’s interesting to note that at least two fighters think Chris Algieri has a style that could give Manny problems. Zab Judah, who fought Floyd Mayweather, Jr (and knocked him down), and has sparred with Algieri thinks the kid from Huntington has what it takes to give Manny lots of problems. The other fighter, who has already been in the ring with Manny is Brandon Rios. Although Brandon lost a one-sided decision to Manny, he learned a lot about what Manny does and doesn’t do. He too sparred with Algieri and thinks Chris has the necessary skills to give Manny problems.
Algieri also seems to be a genuine positive thinker. He visualizes and sees, in his mind’s eye, himself winning. Visualization is an important part of the process. That is why boxers shadow box, and why Bernard Hopkins feels it’s a mistake to do it in front of a mirror. When that is done, it’s like showing off. The fighter only sees his own image. What he needs to see is his opponent, and what his opponent might do, and how he should deal with it. That’s what Algieri trys to do. He even practices quiet visualization when taking an ice bath.
Visualization is such an important part of success in just about anything. How else can someone who hasn’t enough experience believe that he can succeed, when he hasn’t yet done it? The answer is visualization. The body doesn’t know whether something is real or imagined. It will react the same whether you actually experience something or just dream it. The story goes, if you encounter a bear in the woods, your body immediately gets into flight mode. The adrenaline is flowing and you will probably run faster than you ever have before. (The bear will still catch you) If in your dreams, you encounter a bear, your body with react in the same way.
Hence, the importance of visualization cannot be stressed enough. When Jack Nicklaus first joined the pro tour, he soon was criticized for his slow play. Jack didn’t care. He wasn’t about to change his routine, because in reality, he was young and lacked the experience of other players. So, he needed to see himself being successful. As a result,, before he stepped up to the ball, he visualized everything including how he addressed the ball, gripped the club, and the flight of the his shot landing on target. History has proven his method was pretty damn good example for success.
It should be noted that the person visualizing also is physically capable of the task. Jack was and Chris knows that he is. That’s what Chris Algieri is counting on. It’s that confidence that might enable him to overcome all the hurdles that the great Manny Pacquiao presents. Chris has a plan, and he’s already seen himself being successful in beating Manny. He has already seen everything, the entrance into the ring, and then him winning every round. That belief has also helped him deflect all the potential distractions, such as Freddie Roach’s attempts to dent Chris’ armor. Chris simply diverts it, because it is not part of his game plan. He flicks it away like an irritating little bug.
It would seem, with Chris Algieri, his critics think he’s living in a fantasy world, something beyond reality, and what will actually happen in the ring come Nov. 22nd. Chris has heard all those naysayers, and believes he will show them that his vision is a true manifestation and not a mirage. He truly perceives his success, In his mind, he has already won the fight. That’s why he can ignore outrageous remarks, like ones from Freddie, predicting a kayo in the first round. Chris just laughs, confident that Freddie doesn’t know what he knows, what he has already seen happening.
Will Chris be proved right in his belief, in his vision? According to Roy Jones Jr. we will know early on who is going to win. Roy thinks the man who gets his game plan going early, establishing his pace and tempo will win. It’s that man who will establish the advantageous distance and rhythm with which he is comfortable, and will carry him on to success. Manny has done it many times in the ring. As of yet, Algieri has only done it in his mind. Is his simply a pipe dream, or is Manny in for the fight of his life?