Chris Algieri is all but unknown to the casual boxing fan audience, an ever-shrinking part of the fan base that seems to have gotten tired of occasionally buying a pay-per-view, as numbers in that area continue to drop. But Algieri is facing Manny Pacquiao this coming Saturday in Macau on HBO pay-per-view, and for those that don't know who he is or even have just seen him once to date, let's take a look at three of Algieri's recent wins.
Here's Algieri against Jose Peralta in February 2013, a fight where he didn't exactly dominate, but did win clean and clear.
Algieri wound up taking that fight on scores of 96-94, 97-93, and 98-92. It was fought at a 143-pound catchweight at Algieri's home venue, the Paramount Theater in Huntington, New York.
More impressive was Algieri's February 2014 win on Friday Night Fights over Emmanuel Taylor, a solid fringe contender who would go on to beat Karim Mayfield in his next fight, then give Adrien Broner plenty to worry about in September:
Scores for Algieri's win over Taylor were 97-93 twice and 98-92. That fight also earned him his big opportunity on HBO in June, when he faced Ruslan Provodnikov for the WBO junior welterweight title.
The matchup was laughed off when it was made. Provodnikov had earned a reputation as a destructive puncher in 2013, with his narrow welterweight loss to Tim Bradley in the Fight of the Year, and a one-sided beatdown of Mike Alvarado to pick up the WBO 140-pound belt. But even though his power surfaced in round one, when he dropped Algieri once and forced him to take a knee for a second knockdown, Algieri adjusted and boxed his way to a stunning upset win:
Now 20-0 (8 KO), Algieri faces a much bigger obstacle next. It's been a great year for the Long Island fighter and former pro kickboxing champion, but now he has to take on Manny Pacquiao, which is a task unlike any he's seen in his boxing career.
That said, it's been a year of steps forward for Algieri. His win over Taylor was his best to date. So was his win over Provodnikov. And while neither of those guys are on Pacquiao's level, he will have some advantages. He's much taller than Pacquiao, and if he can control distance, it could be a long night for the Filipino superstar.
Or, Algieri could finally be in over his head.