MACAU - Boxing news conferences generally are exercises in hyperbole, but Wednesday's made-for-live-streaming-video event advertising Saturday night's Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri WBO welterweight title bout did contain one moment of truth. It was provided by, of all people, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who famously is known for saying "Yesterday, I was lying; today, I'm telling the truth."
Before launching into an ode to box-office star Pacquiao, Arum turned to Algieri and said, "I want to thank you for the tremendous help you've been on this promotion."
That might have been the understatement of the boxing year.
From the moment he popped out of the basement in his parents' Greenlawn, Long Island, home to win the WBO light welterweight title from Ruslan Provodnikov and ace out bigger names for the pay-per-view date with Pacquiao, Algieri has been a promoter's dream, answering every reporter's question as if it were an essay test.
He was at it again Wednesday night at the Venetian Macao, sitting down for one last roundtable interview before the event while Pacquiao just put in his time on the dais. Algieri won the news conference on style points, too, looking like a model fresh out of a catalog in a youthful sports jacket and narrow tie.
"I like to stand out and do something a little different," Algieri said. "It's a little old school, too. I think of the guys in the '30s and '40s. I'd rather look sharp."
In the interview, Algieri added that fight preparations came together as neatly as his wardrobe. "I feel awesome," Algieri said. "Today's workout was fantastic. My coaches were impressed at how good we're feeling this close to fight night."
Despite his status as an 8-1 underdog, Algieri's middle class-to-$1.7-million purse story and his bold insistence that he can upset an eight-division world champion might stir the PPV market to life. At 5-11, Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) has a pronounced size advantage over the 5-61/2 Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs), but the champion's experience dwarfs Algieri's. Could a relative neophyte lacking a knockout punch really score such a monumental upset?
Algieri gets the skepticism, especially considering a first-round knockdown by Provodnikov that left him with a shiner of epic proportions. "Who the hell am I?" Algieri said. "Who is this guy?
"Most people haven't seen any of my other fights. They base my entire style off the fight against Ruslan, which is ridiculous because I fought 111/2 rounds with one eye. I wasn't throwing the right hand because it was pinned against my damaged right eye that couldn't get hit."
All the questions Algieri has fielded with such aplomb since the promotion kicked off nearly three months ago will be answered when the fighters step into the ring at a quarter after noon on Sunday Macau time, which translates to 11:15 ET Saturday night.
"It's going to be a great show," Algieri said from the dais to the cameras. "You don't want to miss this."
Getting into the spirit of things, Pacquiao added, "I know my opponent has trained hard, and he's excited to win. But I won't let that happen."