'Real-life Rocky' Algieri faces daunting reality in Pacquiao

Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:24pm EST
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By Kieran Mulvaney

MACAU (Reuters) - Nine months ago, American Chris Algieri was fighting in a venue holding less than 2,000 spectators, but on Sunday he enters the big time when he challenges eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao for the WBO welterweight title at the Venetian Macao.

The 30-year-old Algieri, has been billed by promoters as the 'real-life Rocky' because of his rapid and improbable ascension to world title challenger, is not overawed by his situation.

"Yeah, it's cool, but it doesn't faze me," he told reporters in Macau this week ahead of his clash with Pacquiao in the 15,000 seat arena in the former Portuguese colony.

"I've literally seen this in my mind for a long time. And now it's here, it isn't I made it; it's, this is where I'm supposed to be."

Algieri earned his title shot the hard way.

Nine months ago, his bout with Emanuel Taylor was headlining at a 1,555-seat venue in his hometown of Huntington, New York.

That unanimous points decision victory gave him an opportunity against Russia's WBO light welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov in June.

Despite suffering two first-round knockdowns and having to fight with a swollen right eye, Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) prevailed via a 12-round decision to set up the Pacquiao clash.   Continued...

Sep 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Manny Pacquiao (left) and Chris Algieri pose at press conference at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in advance of World Welterweight Championship bout on Nov. 22, 2014.  Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports