Huntington's Chris Algieri is close to agreement on a seven-figure purse offer to fight WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 22 in Macau, China.
Promoter Joe DeGuardia on Wednesday night said, "We're very close. My expectation is that it will happen by [Thursday]."
Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) recently upset Ruslan Provodnikov for the WBO light welterweight title to move to the head of the line to face Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs).
Carl Moretti, vice-president of boxing operations for Top Rank, Pacquiao's promoter, said two other fighters are on the list of candidates to fight for Pacquiao's WBO welterweight belt, but he declined to name them.
"We're waiting for Joe to get back to us and see how they feel about the offer," Moretti said. "It doesn't necessarily mean he has the fight because we'll bring it to Manny after that, but he's high on the list."
Money undoubtedly is the No. 1 issue. Algieri received a mere $100,000 to fight Provodnikov, who knocked him down twice in the first round, causing the challenger's right eye to eventually swell shut. Despite that handicap, Algieri outboxed Provodnikov to win a split decision that dramatically changed the life of a boxer who was fighting at Huntington's Paramount Theatre as recently as February.
Pacquiao's last three opponents were guaranteed from $4 million to $6 million, but all were far better known than the late-blooming 30-year-old Algieri. Still, Algieri is an undefeated champion, and he's a bright guy with a degree in nutrition from Stony Brook University who has an interesting story as a former world kickboxing champion and a New York media market following in which to tell it.
A more apt comparison might be to Joshua Clottey, who received $1.5 million to fight Pacquiao in 2010 after winning the IBF welterweight title two years earlier. When it comes to money, Algieri's options have multiplied exponentially within the past five months.
Referring to recent Pacquiao opponents Timothy Bradley, Brandon Rios and Juan Manuel Marquez, DeGuardia said, "The guys who made those paydays had fought numerous times on HBO. The market has been low lately. Chris has to realize that or there wouldn't be a fight.
"Chris has an unheard-of story going from making X amount of dollars on ESPN [in February] to 10 times that on HBO [against Provodnikov] and more than 10 times that now in Macau. It's fantastic for Chris, and it's something special and unique. Just fighting Pacquiao puts him on a different level."
If he agrees to the Pacquiao offer, which is far greater than any other prospective opponent, Algieri retains his 140-pound title. Said DeGuardia, "This is a grand slam."