MACAU – Tall and good looking, Chris Algieri shouldn’t be in the world of prizefighting.
“Dapat mag-artista na lang siya,” said two-time world champion Gerry Penalosa of the good-looking, 5-foot-10 American who challenges World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao on Sunday afternoon at the Cotai Arena.
Not lost on Penalosa is the Hollywood good looks of Algieri, aside from the health care science degree he had from Stony Brook University and a masters from the New York Institute of Technology.
“Parang di bagay mag-boksing,” Penalosa laughed.
But to his credit, the 30-year-old American from Huntington, New York earned the right to challenge Pacquiao for the 147-lb. title following his stunning 12-round split decision over one-time Pacman sparmate Ruslan Provodnikov to win the WBO junior welterweight championship last June.
Algieri, fighting outside of the Big Apple for the first time in his five-year pro career, got up from two first-round knockdowns to gut out the shocking win at the expense of the hard-punching Provodnikov.
That alone earned him the respect of Penalosa.
“Malakas din. Tumumba ng dalawang beses kay Ruslan pero nakabangon pa,” said the 42-year-old Penalosa, who is here with his entire family to support close pal Pacquiao.
But Provodnikov is definitely not a Pacquiao, Penalosa stressed.
“Si Ruslan kasi malakas sumuntok pero mabagal. E, si Manny malakas na sumuntok, mabilis pa,” noted the native of San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, who reigned as world super-flyweight and bantamweight champions during a career that spanned more than two decades.
He doesn’t discount the possibility of Algieri again getting up from a Pacquiao knockdown, but can’t see the fight, scheduled for 12 rounds, lasting the distance.
“Easy fight, easy money,” said Penalosa.