MACAU (AP) — Manny Pacquiao got the big knockdowns he so desperately craved, battering Chris Algieri around the ring at will Sunday on his way to a decision win in one of the most lopsided welterweight title fights imaginable.
Pacquiao chased Algieri from the opening bell, knocking him down repeatedly and dominating. About the only thing Pacquiao didn’t get was his first knockout in five years, settling instead for a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision against an opponent who seemed unwilling to engage.
By the time it was over, Algieri had gone down six times. And Pacquiao had a signature win that should put to rest the idea he’s declining and maybe even set up a fight next year with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pacquiao prayed in his corner while waiting for the decision. But it was Algieri who never had a prayer.
Pacquiao knocked Algieri down once in the second round, two more times in the sixth and twice more in the ninth. After a final knockdown in the 10th round, he seemed to back off in a fight that had long been decided.
Two ringside judges scored the bout 119-103 while the third had it 120-102. The Associated Press had Pacquiao winning 120-102.
Pacquiao went into the fight saying he needed a signature win to entice Mayweather to fight him in a bout that boxing fans have wanted for years. He vowed to put on a power performance like some of his earlier fights and did, never letting Algieri get close.
“I really want that fight,” Pacquiao said of Mayweather. “The fans deserve that fight.”
Some of the sold out crowd of 13,202 at the Venetian Macau may have wondered whether Algieri deserved this fight, as he spent more time trying to stay away from Pacquiao than trading punches.
But while Algieri could run, he couldn’t hide. Pacquiao caught him repeatedly with power punches and dropped him as he tried to back away.
“The master boxer was given a master class by professor Pacquiao tonight,” trainer Freddie Roach said. “I was disappointed in Algieri’s performance tonight. All he did was run.”
Algieri said he was simply beaten by a better fighter.
“It’s not just his hand speed,” Algieri said. “He’s a great fighter. He does everything well. Manny has perfected his style of boxing.”
Pacquiao’s second fight in China was held at midday to accommodate the pay-per-view sales in the U.S., but the time of day didn’t matter much to the Filipino fans who cheered on their 35-year-old national hero.
Pacquiao knocked Algieri down in the corner in the second round, though Algieri claimed it was a slip. He easily fought his way through Algieri’s tentative defense, landing punches on the inside and piling up points.
Algieri came into the fight with a reputation for his jab, but he refused to commit to it early and simply pawed at Pacquiao with his left hand. Still, Algieri’s corner somehow thought he was carrying out the game plan just the way they had drawn it up.
“You’re doing beautiful man,” trainer Tim Lane told his fighter after the third round. “Everything stays the same. Keep it up.”
By the end of the fourth round, Pacquiao had already thrown more than 100 more punches than Algieri. But Algieri rarely stopped to set his feet to punch, and kept trying to run away from the champion’s punching power.
Unfortunately for Algieri, things then went from bad to worse. Pacquiao caught him with a big left hand that sent Algieri sprawling on the canvas in the sixth round, almost turning a reverse somersault before finally landing in the corner.
Pacquiao was right back on him, and Algieri went down again late in the round as he tried desperately to survive.
Still, Algieri’s corner urged him to continue to do what he was doing, long after he needed a knockout to win.
“This is the way we want to be,” Lane told him. “This is what you wanted”
Algieri was an unlikely opponent despite being unbeaten in 20 fights after ending a kick boxing career to concentrate on boxing. He got the bout after being knocked down twice in the first round in his June fight with Ruslan Provodnikov and coming back to win a 12-round decision, and was supremely confident in the weeks before the fight that he would beat Pacquiao, too.
Still, oddsmakers made him a 7-1 underdog against the Filipino great, who came into determined to show he still had his punching power.
The bout was for a piece of the welterweight title held by Pacquiao, though it was fought at a catch weight of 144 pounds instead of 147.