Chris who? Unknown Algieri takes 'chance of lifetime' to fight Manny Pacquiao in Macau

A month ago, American Chris Algieri was unknown - he has since won a WBO title and has been confirmed as the Filipino superstar's next opponent

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 July, 2014, 11:49pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 10:05am

A senior Top Rank official has defended Manny Pacquiao's decision to fight little-known American Chris Algieri when the Philippine star returns to Macau's Cotai Arena in November.

Brad Jacobs, executive event producer for co-promoters Top Rank, said fans would want to see a potential "Cinderella story" with Algieri given the chance of a lifetime against one of the biggest names in boxing.

Algieri was a complete unknown until he won the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) light welterweight title last month, defeating champion Ruslan Provodnikov, of Russia, in a split decision.

Here's a guy [Algieri] who no one had heard of a month ago and now he's talked about
Brad Jacobs

The American has now been confirmed as the eight-division world champion's opponent on November 23.

"That's part of the beauty of boxing," said Jacobs, who is in Macau for this weekend's Champions of Gold.

"Here's a guy [Algieri] who no one had heard of a month ago and now he's talked about, his abilities are being recognised and he fought on a high-profile card against a well-known fighter.

"Algieri looked completely outclassed, outgunned in the first round [he was knocked down twice] and he came back and won the fight over the distance. A lot of kudos to him. To have someone come from nowhere and become a star overnight, the opportunity is there," he said.

While any fighter would jump at the chance to fight against Pacman for the biggest payday of their career, Algieri didn't seem overly excited.

At least, he didn't show it as Top Rank gave him more than a week to sign on the dotted line with reports saying he had been offered US$1.5 million to fight the 35-year-old Filipino.

"I am not with the Algieri [camp] so I can't figure out why he hasn't finalised, although I am very comfortable that he will in the end," said Jacobs, before the news that Algieri had agreed to the deal. "We made what we consider a very viable offer and now it's in his hands."

Algieri, 30, received a reported US$100,000 for his last fight.

Algieri, from Huntington, Long Island, is an unlikely opponent for Pacquiao but Top Rank turned to him after Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez made it clear he had no interest in a fifth fight with his old foe.

Jacobs is confident Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) would stand up to the calibre of Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs), who won his past two fights - unanimous wins against Timothy Bradley in April and against US-Mexican Brandon Rios in Macau last November.

"A lot of things have to be contemplated when we make an offer to a fighter. We have calculated all these risks and we feel quite comfortable with the promotability of Chris Algieri and Manny Pacquiao. If we didn't, his name would never have been brought up or put in the mix," said Jacobs.