What Did We Learn in Macau This Weekend?

Manny Pacquiao’s shutout victory over Chris Algieri in Macau was the most one-sided 12 round affairs we’ve seen in years. Although several of the knockdowns should have been ruled as slips, Pac absolutely dominated his opponent throughout the fight, badly hurting Algieri several times. Does this mean the “old” Pacman is back, or was it all smoke and mirrors? Other than a handsome payday, what can be taken from this experience for team Algieri? What lies ahead for both fighters next year? And how does Pacquiao’s 2014 compare to that of Floyd “Money” Mayweather?

For Chris Algieri, there were indeed positives to take away from his first professional loss. Against Pacquiao he displayed the same heart, resilience and toughness that he showed against Ruslan Provodnikov in June. There was solid footwork for the most part, as well as a few nicely timed right hands that caught Manny as he lunged in. But the inexperience of Algieri and his team was obvious throughout; from coming in heavy on the scales at the weigh in, to the strategy of the fight itself. The game plan of starting with “four first rounds” was all wrong; Algieri averaged just 5 punches landed in those first four rounds. There was no “Plan B”. No adjustments were made. His corner gave the wrong advice between just about every round. On top of all that, the New York native was stripped of his WBO 140 pound title that same day for absolutely no reason (but since when do sanctioning bodies do anything logical, right?)

To say its “back to the drawing board” for Algieri is an understatement. However, there is potential for him to be a player from 140-147 should he desire to press on. If Chris wants to get back into the title hunt and chase another big payday, he will have to link up with an elite trainer at an elite gym. That means packing up his things, moving out of his parents’ home, and moving to either southern California or Las Vegas. Ultimately it’s going to come down to Chris Algieri and what he wants.

For Pacquiao this was a terrific performance, but not a perfect one. As mentioned above, Manny ate several right hands as he lunged in on his opponent, something we’ve seen often in recent bouts. And even though he had Algieri down twice in the ninth, badly hurt, he just couldn’t finish him. Pacquiao landed an astonishing 45 of 72 punches in that ninth round (62%), yet it wasn’t enough to get the youngster out of there. It’s obvious that this is not the Pacman who made De La Hoya quit, destroyed Hatton, stopped Cotto and ended Margarito’s career. All that being said the Filipino icon completely dismantled a much fresher, younger, taller, undefeated opponent beaming with confidence. To do that at an “old” 35 years of age, having been through so many wars throughout his career, is pretty damn impressive.

Its arguable this was Pacman’s best year since 2010 when he shutout two bigger, stronger, rugged contenders in Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. Inevitably Pac’s year will be compared to Mayweather’s, as these two are the Magic Johnson and Larry Bird of the boxing world (except, you know, those two actually competed against each other, instead of just talking about it). This year Manny dominated a top five pound-for-pound fighter in Timothy Bradley, then shutout Algieri. Both fighters were undefeated (although Bradley should have had a loss on his record from the first bout with Pacquiao) and had held titles at 140 pounds. By contrast Floyd won a mixed decision over the rugged Marcos Maidana in May – not because “el Chino” is that good, but rather because Mayweather took him lightly – only to dominate him in an unnecessary rematch months later. It was a lackluster 2014 for Floyd and although he remains #1 on the pound for pound list, his nemesis Pacquiao had the better year. Neither man should win Fighter of the Year honors but Pacquiao is at least in the discussion, Mayweather is not.

In regards to what’s next for Pacquiao in 2015, it won’t be that big super-mega-fight that the casuals have been clamoring for along with the mainstream media for years. Mayweather will fight the Alexander-Kahn winner in May and then probably face Danny Garcia in September. However there are plenty of options for Pacman now that Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions are working together again. In terms of big matchups, it wouldn’t surprise this writer one bit if Terence Crawford, this year’s runaway favorite for Fighter of the Year, and Pacquiao were to meet at 140 pounds in late 2015. You read it here first.

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