MACAU — Manny Pacquiao defeated Chris Algieri by unanimous decision Sunday at the Venetian Macao to retain his World Boxing Organization welterweight championship.
A huge left hand from Pacquiao sent Algieri to the canvas halfway through the eighth round. Algieri appeared seriously hurt, but beat the count to keep the contest going. He was knocked down again a few seconds later, one of six knockdowns he suffered on the night.
An accumulation of shots led to Algieri going down again in the ninth, but he again got up, and survived a 15-second assault from Pacquiao to make it out of the round.
Pacquiao continued to land punches at will in the last three rounds, but for ninth consecutive time, failed to score a knockout.
“I came and did my best and that was good enough,” Pacquiao said. “I was trying to knock him out but he was fast and moving so it was hard to get the K.O.”
A left hand sent Algieri against the ropes in the sixth round and Pacquiao was relentless in following up, knocking down Algieri twice in the round, to the roars of approval from the partisan sold out crowd.
The referee Genaro Rodriguez ruled that Pacquiao knocked down Algieri in the second round, as well, although Algieri appeared to slip that time.
Despite being knocked down a half-dozen times, Algieri claimed to have been seriously hurt only once, in the ninth round.
“The only legit time I was hurt was when we were trading left hooks and I went down,” Algieri said. “That was the only shot that really hurt me.”
Still, Pacquiao landed combinations at will throughout, despite Algieri’s best efforts to stay on the outside and use his five-inch reach advantage. Pacquiao, a left-hander, found a home with his lead left hand, and caused some swelling under Algieri’s left eye.
The trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s longtime cornerman, poked fun at Algieri’s claims that he was going to outbox Pacquiao, the welterweight champion.
“The master boxer was given a master class by professor Pacquiao,” he said.
Pacquiao, 35, entered the bout Sunday afternoon (late Saturday night Eastern time) looking for his first knockout victory since November 2009, when he knocked out Miguel Cotto in the 12th round in Las Vegas. The 30-year-old Algieri, thought by many observers to be taking a drastic step up in class, figured to serve as an ideal opponent for Pacquiao to get his long sought-after stoppage.
Roach was particularly vocal in proclaiming the contest to be a mismatch. On a conference call earlier in the week, he predicted that Pacquiao’s quickness would overwhelm Algieri, and bring the match to a swift conclusion.
“You can’t judge Manny’s speed by watching him on TV,” Roach said. “Once he gets in the ring, he’ll be shocked. That’s why this guy isn’t going to last more than three rounds.”
Pacquiao was not nearly as bold.
“I’m not predicting the fight, predicting for knockout,” he said. “I’m just looking for a good fight, and to prove that I can still fight.”
As is usually the case when Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. steps in the ring, much of the talk leading up to the fight focused on whether the two will ever face each other. The speculation was largely driven this week by Bob Arum, the chief executive of Top Rank Boxing, which promotes Pacquiao. Arum said earlier in the week that all parties involved were “close” to reaching a deal for Mayweather and Pacquiao to meet next year.
Roach was concerned that an overly impressive performance by Pacquiao might cause Mayweather to rethink the proposed match.
“Sometimes I tell Manny ‘You don’t want to beat up Algieri too bad because then Mayweather is just going to run a little bit more,’ ” Roach said. “He is scared of us now and he is going to be more scared after we destroy this guy.”
But Pacquiao made it clear after the fight that he wants Mayweather next.
“I am ready to fight him next year,” Pacquiao said.
It was the first time on a major international stage for Algieri, a native of Huntington, N.Y., and he seemed to enjoy every minute it. During his news media obligations in Macau on Friday morning, Algieri appeared very much at ease as he joked with his team.
And he was savvy enough not to let the opportunity pass without trying to make the most of it, financially. As he sat before the camera in preparation for a series of interviews, he opened his jacket to expose a T-shirt design that was for sale on his website.
“Trying to get that Algieri gear out there,” he said, laughing. “Chrisalgieri.com!”
As he prepared for the interviews, Algieri reflected on the whirlwind promotional tour. Arum called Algieri “the real life Rocky,” in an effort to sell Algieri to sell the fight to the fans. Algieri, who holds a master’s degree in clinical nutrition from New York Institute of Technology, thought the comparison to the minimally educated movie character Rocky Balboa was off base.
“I never said anything about Rocky,” he said. “The only thing I ever said about Rocky is that ‘I’m not like Rocky.’ ”
But Algieri was willing to play along in an effort to sell a fight that some critics deemed to be unworthy of pay-per-view. Apart from Ruslan Provodnikov, whom Algieri defeated by split decision in June at Barclays Center, Algieri had not faced much quality opposition. Some were skeptical of his ability to compete against Pacquiao, a world champion in an unprecedented eight weight classes.
Pacquiao proved those critics correct.
In the co-featured bout, Chinese flyweight contender Zou Shiming extended his perfect record (6-0, one knockout) with an impressive unanimous decision victory over Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym of Thailand. Zou knocked down OnesongchaiGym four times on his way to victory.
Next up for Zou, according to Bob Arum who represents him, could be a meeting with Amnat Ruenroeng for the International Boxing Federation flyweight championship early next year.