Manny Pacquiao’s next fight probably will be a welterweight title defense against Chris Algieri, an unknown fighter just a few weeks ago until he upset Ruslan Provodnikov to win a junior welterweight world title.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who represents Pacquiao, told ESPN.com that he has made an offer to Star Boxing promoter Joe DeGuardia, Algieri’s promoter, for the fight, which would take place Nov. 22 (HBO PPV) at the Cotai Arena at the Venetian Macao in Macau, China.
That’s the fight I’d like to make and I think we’re getting closer, Arum said Wednesday from Los Angeles, where he was meeting with Algieri co-promoter Artie Pelullo. Artie is here with me now and hopefully we’ll be able to finalize everything.
Said DeGuardia, We have an offer from Bob and we’re excited. I’m enthusiastic. It’s the kind of fight that can push Chris higher up the ladder. He made a huge step in his last fight by winning the title against Ruslan and this would be another huge jump up that ladder.
Arum said that Mexican star Juan Manuel Marquez – who has already faced Pacquiao four times in memorable fights and is his mandatory challenger – is out of the running for the November fight but that there are two others still under consideration in the event he can’t close a deal with Algieri: former junior welterweight titlist Mike Alvarado (34-3, 23 KOs) and welterweight contender Luis Carlos Abregu (36-1, 29 KOs) of Argentina.
However, Alvarado has lost two fights in a row, including a wide decision to Marquez on May 17 in a title eliminator to determine Pacquiao’s mandatory challenger. Abregu is a formidable contender but has virtually no name recognition.
With there being no chance of a Pacquiao fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. this year – the fight that the public has demanded for years and not gotten for various reasons – Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) finds himself in the right place at the right time. In a three-fight span covering nine months, he could find himself going from making $15,000 for a January fight to $100,000 for the Provodnikov fight to more than $1 million against Pacquiao.
The 30-year-old from the Long Island, New York town of Huntington came out of nowhere to upset Provodnikov by controversial split decision on June 14 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Provodnikov knocked Algieri down twice in the first round and grotesquely swelled his right eye. While many thought Provodnikov won, Algieri also had many who thought he outboxed Provodnikov and was the rightful winner.
I like the storyline with Algieri, Arum said. Besides being a good fighter, he’s a college graduate, a kid who wants to go to medical school to become a doctor in the future. He’s articulate, good looking and we’ll get a lot of backing in the promotion from the New York media because he’s from New York.
But Algieri, a former kickboxer, who not only graduated from college but also earned a master’s degree, has had very limited television exposure, having appeared once on HBO, once on ESPN2 and once on NBC Sports Net.
Arum knows he is in for an uphill battle to promote him in a pay-per-view fight with Pacquiao, especially one from Macau, where Pacquiao’s fight with Brandon Rios last year drew less than 500,000 buys, which was a major disappointment. The poor performance had a lot to do with the 12-hour time difference from the East Coast, which caused an unusual schedule for promotional activities — even though the pay-per-view itself began in the morning in Macau to accommodate a live prime time show in the U.S. — and a lack of media members who made the trip to cover the fight. But Arum said he is able to make up for a lot of the lost American television revenue because of his site deal.
It remains to be seen how we’ll do (on pay-per-view) but when you have a nice storyline you can really push it, Arum said. Would I like if Algieri had more exposure? Absolutely. But it is what it is.
Arum and DeGuardia said they hope to wrap up a deal by early next week. DeGuardia said he spoke with Algieri to go over various deal points, including the seven-figure offer, on Wednesday.
When you fight somebody like Manny Pacquiao you’re a different player in the sport, DeGuardia said. Monetarily, it’s always important to get what you can get, so while the offer isn’t exactly what we wanted the flipside is that there are so many collateral benefits from being in a fight like this. We know Chris brings a lot to the table. When you really look at it from a marketing standpoint in the United States, they need a good dance partner and Chris has a lot going for him. Artie is on board with the deal if it gets made and, as far as Arum goes, there are a few little things we need to tweak. But I don’t see any issues. I’m waiting to hear back from Chris as well on a few things.
The Philippines’ Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs), 35, has won two fights in a row since being knocked out by Marquez in December 2012. Pacquiao returned to easily outpoint Rios in November and avenged his heavily disputed split decision loss to Timothy Bradley Jr. by easily outpointing him on April 12 to regain his welterweight world title.