MACAU - The improbable dream turned out to be just that for Greenlawn's Chris Algieri. He traveled halfway around the world to the Venetian Macau resort telling anyone who would listen that he had what it took to shock eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, but it didn't happen.
Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) scored a lopsided unanimous decision victory over Algieri (20-1, 8 KOs) in front of a capacity Cotai Arena crowd of 13,202. Algieri was knocked down six times, once in the third round, twice in the sixth, twice in the ninth and once more in the 10th.
Judge Michael Pernick scored it 120-102; Levi Martinez and Patrick Morley called it 119-103.
Pacquiao's victory cleared the way on his end for a potential fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. When asked about that prospect, Pacquiao mimicked his recent television ad, saying excitedly, "He's going to fight me!''
More seriously later, he said, "I really want that fight.''
Trainer Freddie Roach was ebullient in victory, referencing Algieri's big pre-fight talk. "The master boxer was given a master class by professor Pacquiao tonight,'' Roach said. "I was disappointed in Algieri's performance. All he did was run. He didn't show any of the heart he did against Ruslan Provodnikov.''
Algieri's major accomplishment was to deny Pacquiao his first knockout since 2009 against Miguel Cotto. Describing Pacquiao, Algieri said, "It's not just his hand speed. He's perfected his style. I was never hurt. Two of the knockdowns were slips, but he gave me one great shot in the ninth.''
Until this year, Algieri was an unknown beyond the confines of Huntington's Paramount Theater, where he regularly headlined club shows that were packed because his father, Dominick, a supervisor at the town's highway department, sold hundreds of tickets.
But Algieri defeated Emanuel Taylor on Valentine's Day at the Paramount to gain a shot at the WBO light welterweight title against Provodnikov. He was a heavy underdog in that fight and suffered two first-round knockdowns but scored a surprising split-decision victory despite fighting with a right eye that was swollen completely shut by the eighth round.
Roach was in Provodnikov's corner for that fight, so he knew what Algieri brought to the table with a stiff jab, excellent footwork and superior conditioning. Algieri agreed to a 144-pound catchweight, 3 pounds below the welterweight limit, but he had a significant size advantage over Pacquiao, with an extra 5 inches in reach and more than 4 inches in height at 5-11.
The fight was about an hour late beginning, and when Algieri made his walk to the ring, he was sporting a "Seawolves" hat advertising his undergraduate alma mater, Stony Brook University. Then came Filipino congressman Pacquiao, the overwhelming crowd favorite. He knelt and prayed in a neutral corner.
When the bell rang, Pacquiao kept his distance rather than showing his speed right away. It was a feeling-out round for Algieri, whose back hit the ropes a couple times as he danced away from Pacquiao combinations.
In the second round, Algieri slipped in Pacquiao's corner as he was backing away from short punches, and referee Genaro Rodriguez ruled it a knockdown. Algieri protested to no avail but didn't press the attack. In the third round, Algieri finally landed a solid left to Pacquiao's ear, but the champion remained the busier fighter.
By the fourth round, Pacquaio was gaining confidence and moving well inside past Algieri's jab. Midway through the round, Pacquiao landed a four-punch flurry, including a solid uppercut. Algieri landed a couple of left hands in the fifth round, but Pacquiao was in range only when he wanted to be as he came forward to attack, backing up the challenger.
The sixth round was a disaster for Algieri, who went down twice, the first time from a left that sent him stumbling back and the second from a right that came down the pipe. Algieri generally danced out of harm's way in an uneventful seventh, but his lack of punching activity was a sure path to defeat.
The jab that had served Algieri so well for most of his career largely was neutralized by Pacquiao, just as Roach said it would be. A lame left by Algieri in the ninth left him wide-open for a Pacquiao left hook that put him on his back. Algieri shook it off and got up but went down a second time from a flurry of blows.
The 10th was about survival for Algieri, whose well-conditioned legs were losing their strength as he stumbled away from punches. Another Pacquiao left put Algieri down a sixth time in the fight just before the end of the round. By that point, Algieri needed a "Rocky'' shot to pull out the lopsided fight, but even though Sylvester Stallone was at ringside, he couldn't change this script.
The only saving grace for Algieri was that he wasn't knocked out.
Notes & quotes: On the undercard, Jessie Vargas (26-0, 9 KOs) retained his WBA super lightweight title by unanimous decision over Antonio DeMarco (31-4-1, 23 KOs). All three judges scored it 116-112 for Vargas, who beat a Freddie Roach-trained fighter for the fourth time . . . Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko (3-1, 1 KO) knocked down Chonlatarn PiriyaPinyo (52-2, 33 KOs) for the first time in his career and won the WBO world featherweight title by unanimous decision, all 120-107, despite breaking his left hand during the fight . . . China's two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming (6-0, 1 KO) decisioned Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (27-1, 12 KOs) in a 12-round flyweight bout, scoring four knockdowns but suffering a cut from a head butt. Onesongchaigym got one round from two of the three judges.