Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao comprehensively dismantled American Chris Algieri to retain his World Boxing Organization welterweight title at the Cotai Arena in Macau on Sunday.
Pacquiao dropped Algieri to the canvas six times during the 12-round contest in the southern Chinese city to win an overwhelming unanimous decision, 119-103, 119-103, 120-102 on the judges’ cards.
Algieri, the unbeaten WBO light welterweight champion, was outclassed from the start, with the eight-division world champion Pacquiao knocking the Long Islander down in the second round, twice in both the sixth and ninth rounds, and finally again in the 10th.
Pacquiao was landing punches at will as the quick Algieri tried to run, slip and hide from the onslaught.
But the congressman from Sarangani province really turned it when he smashed Algieri to the canvas with a devastating straight left in the sixth.
The American only just beat the count and dropped to one knee moments later as blows rained in from all angles.
He somehow survived and was knocked down twice more in the ninth and then again in the 10th, with one left sending him sprawling across the ring and head over heels backwards into the corner.
“I’m satisfied with the result,” said Pacquiao. “I did my best. I was trying for a knockout but he was fast and keeps moving.”
“He’s perfected his style,” said Algieri. “He’s perfected the art of fighting like Manny Pacquiao. He hurt me once when he buzzed me with a left hook. But that was the only time.”
Algieri holds a master’s degree and an ambition to become a doctor once his boxing days are over. All week in the build-up, his trainer Tim Lane had been declaring that he would destroy Pacquiao by “master boxing”.
They proved hollow words and Pacquiao’s Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach mocked them afterwards.
“The master boxer was given a master class by Professor Pacquiao,” said Roach.
Roach raised a laugh when he told reporters he had resorted to an unusual tactic to try to get Pacquiao to finish Algieri with a knockout.
“Eleventh round, I said ‘I want you to knock him out’,” said Roach.
“He says ‘In Jesus’s name?’ I said, ‘If that’s what you want me to say?’ He said “yeah”.
“So I said ‘Knock him out — in Jesus’s name!’, he laughed.
“Really I tried everything I could to get that knockout.”
– Filipinos unite for Pacquiao –
Pacquiao’s victory will inevitably heighten calls for him to face the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather in what could be the first billion-dollar fight in history.
“I really want the fight. The fans deserve it,” said Pacquiao afterwards, throwing down a challenge by imitating a new TV commercial in which he mocks Mayweather.
It brought huge cheers from the sellout 13,202 crowd at the Venetian Macau venue, where the vast majority appeared to be Filipinos.
Many hundreds more of Pacquiao’s compatriots were waiting patiently outside for just a glimpse of their national hero, having arrived at the venue in the early hours of Sunday to find all the tickets gone.
Back in the Philippines, the nation stopped to watch en masse.
“The Filipinos were united in celebrating the victory of our national fist, Congressman Manny Pacquiao in his fight against Chris Algieri in Macau,” said President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman Herminio Coloma in Manila.
“His strength, speed and skill were on display on the canvas. Every punch that scored caused the millions of Filipinos to cheer together in every corner of the world.”