Pacquiao vs. Algieri: Did Vintage Manny Return in Dominant Victory?

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2014

Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Manny Pacquiao made mincemeat out of Chris Algieri on Saturday, and he made it look easy, too. 

Pac-Man dominated the 140-pound titleholder over 12 rounds in Macau to retain his WBO welterweight title. The fight wasn't even close to being competitive.

"Tonight I did my best," a smiling Pacquiao told HBO's Max Kellerman after the fight.

But Pacquiao's best is a high standard. The world-renowned superstar is the preeminent offensive fighter of his generation, and one of the most outstanding southpaws to ever lace up the gloves.

TheSweetScience.com's Michael Woods opined that the "nasty" Pacquiao, "the one who persistently and violently went into search and destroy mode" was back in full form. 

That version of Pacquiao appeared as unstoppable as any fighter in history. In 2009, he dismantled Ricky Hatton in just two rounds and battered poor Miguel Cotto around the ring like a rag doll until the fight was stopped in Round 11.

But was this truly Pacquiao at his best? Did vintage Pac-Man return in the dominant win over Algieri?

Kin Cheung/Associated Press
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Pacquiao knocked Algieri down six times en route to the landslide win. Judges at ringside scored the bout 119-103, 119-103 and 120-102 for Pacquiao. Things looked easy for him from the opening bell.

Since the knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012, Pacquiao has augmented his style to take fewer risks in fights while retaining his ability to win rounds with effective but controlled aggression.

The approach showed itself against Algieri.

Despite completely dominating a clearly overmatched opponent, Pacquiao appeared almost bored at times during the fight. He did not let combinations over four punches go and kept his hands up to block and parry return fire.

Algieri did his best to leave Pacquiao with little room to land his punches. He motored around the ring for most of the fight as if he were a track star instead of a pugilist. He kept his punch output low and tried to keep Pacquiao on the end of the few he did throw.

But Pacquiao cut the distance on Algieri from the very beginning. He threw signature combinations—notably the right jab and straight left down the middle as well as his left to the body followed by a right hook upstairs—to score thudding blows early and often.

MACAU - NOVEMBER 23:  Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines punches Chris Algieri of the United States during the WBO world welterweight title at The Venetian on November 23, 2014 in Macau, Macau.  (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Pacquiao knocked Algieri down with a counter left in Round 4. He did so again in Round 5, started his two Round 6 knockdowns with the punch and crushed Algieri to the canvas again with the hardest of them in Round 9 to leave the New Yorker lying flat on his back.

Pacquiao was brilliant against Algieri. Knowing his opponent carried little power in his fists, Pacquiao was content to wade into the fray at times as if he were still in his mid-20s.

Part of Pacquiao's greatness is that he's a volume puncher who throws with ruthless vigor and passion. His fists are like fast-moving bricks, and they fly at his opponents from all sorts of crazy angles.

Algieri got a taste of it early on Saturday, and he had no answer. In his defense, few fighters do.

Pacquiao was pleased with his performance. He told Kellerman after the fight that he focused on increasing his strength in the lead up to the fight and even started training camp early to make sure he was at the absolute best his 35-year-old body would allow.

"Of course, I'm satisfied with my performance tonight," said Pacquiao. "I came to fight. I did my best, and I think that' s enough."

Pacquiao's best is usually enough. In fact, it almost always is, at least over the past 10 years. 

MACAU - NOVEMBER 23:  Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines punches Chris Algieri of the United States during the WBO world welterweight title at The Venetian on November 23, 2014 in Macau, Macau.  (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Much was made over his Round 6 knockout loss to Marquez back in 2012. It was fair perhaps. Few fighters come back from such devastating knockouts.

But few fighters possess the talent, skill and ability of Pacquiao. Since taking almost a full year off to recover and coming back in 2013, Pacquiao has gone 3-0 against Brandon Rios, Timothy Bradley and Algieri.

More importantly, he's appeared to regain top form. While Pacquiao hasn't knocked out an opponent since his Round 11 TKO over Cotto, Pacquiao has scored several knockdowns over the time span and hurt every opponent he's faced.

He might not exactly be the vintage version of Pacquiao who fans fell in love with before 2010, but Pacquiao is as elite a fighter as ever right now. He could win seven or more rounds against any fighter at junior welterweight or welterweight, and he's the most clear and present danger to Floyd Mayweather's long reign atop the pound-for-pound rankings.

As one might guess, Kellerman asked Pacquiao the obligatory question about a Mayweather fight after the bout. After sharing a laugh over Pacquiao's recently released Foot Locker commercial in which Pacquiao dances around the ring in joy after erroneously believing Mayweather has finally agreed to fight him, he changed his tone to a more serious one.

"I'm ready to fight [Mayweather] next year."

Kelsey McCarson is a boxing writer for Bleacher Report and The Sweet Science. 

In December, he's sparring undefeated junior middleweight Jermell Charlo in an effort to raise money for Corbin Glasscock, a six-year-old recently diagnosed with bone cancer. You can help Kelsey help Corbin by contributing to Corbin's medical fund: www.GoFundMe.com/TeamCorbin.


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