MACAU – The show still belonged to Manny Pacquiao.
His noted punching prowess in full display, the fighting pride of the Philippines overwhelmed a tough but badly outclassed challenger Chris Algieri for 12 full rounds to retain the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title before a sellout crowd of 13,202 at the Cotai Arena on Sunday.
The champion dominated and was all over the American for the entirety of the fight, which the challenger’s handlers earlier touted as the ‘Chris Algieri Show.’
But no way did Pacquiao, 35, allow Algieri to seize the moment as he sent the native of Huntington, New York down to the canvas a total of six times – including twice in the sixth and ninth rounds – on the way to scoring the terribly one-sided unanimous decision.
Judges Patrick Morley and Levi Martines both saw it 119-103, while Michael Pernick had Pacquiao winning every round in his scorecards, 120-102.
“I did my best. I came to fight,” said Pacquiao in the post-fight interview as he improved to 57-5-2, with 38 KOs. “I was trying to look for the knockout, but Algieri was fast moving.”
“The maste boxer was given a master class by professor Pacquiao,” quipped Freddie Roach, the longtime trainer of the boxing great from General Santo City, Algieri having a masters from New York Institute of Technology.
Algieri suffered the first loss of his career and fell to 20-1 (8 KOs), five months after wresting the WBO junior welterweight title with a gallant performance against Ruslan Provodnikov.
But his fearless effort this time proved no match to Pacquiao as he barely survived the Pacman’s onslaught in the middle rounds that saw him go down four times, including one at the 1:48 mark of the sixth round when the champion dropped him to the canvas following a solid left straight, and another in the ninth round after another short left by the champion sent the challenger tumbling down on his pants.
The 30-year-old Algieri admitted having been caught with a good shot at that point and needed to readjust again his fight plan.
“I look to keep on fighting and look for chances that were coming,” he said.
It never did. Instead, he was down on his knees again just as the 10th round was coming to an end as Pacquiao staggered him with a combination and a short left hook.
While Algieri’s camp knew at that point only a knockout could save the day for the challenger, trainer Tim Lane refused to throw in the towel.
“Chris was hurt, but he was also coming back. I know how strong he is and how big his heart is. It wasn’t to that point yet,” the former world kickboxing champion said.
Algieri, who earned the biggest prize purse of his career at $1.5 million, finished the fight on his feet, but was left with bruised on both his eyes.
He is also among the rare fighters in history who lost by being knocked down as many times as he did on this fight.
“He was embarrassed,” said Roach. “They don’t realize how fast (Pacquiao) really is and how good his skills are until they get in the ring with him.”