MACAU - Now, that Chris Algieri has plunged into the deep end of international media scrutiny in the lead-up to his fight with WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night, his confident pronouncements are attracting far more attention and, in some cases, generating strong push back.
Former WBO 147-pound champion Timothy Bradley reacted incredulously to a video clip in which Algieri stated that Bradley "is not necessarily known as a fast guy. I am."
Bradley was awarded a controversial decision over Pacquiao 17 months ago but lost a convincing rematch last April. "Did he just say he's faster than me? Bradley said after watching the Algieri video. "Oh my gosh. That's hilarious. 'Tim's not really known as a fast guy.' It's like, 'What am I known for kid?' Really? Like, really?
"Oh, man. He's going to learn Nov. 22 what fast is all about. Manny Pacquiao? Lightning- fast, reflexes, angles. He's going to see what that's like. He definitely is. Good luck to him, though, man . . .
"He's faster than me? Really? Are you serious? Algieri's faster than me? Are you serious? C'mon, man. You've got to be kidding me. You've got to be kidding me, man." Speaking directly to the camera, Bradley adds, "You're taller, but not faster."
It might not attract as much attention, but Algieri also has developed plenty of admirers along the way of his improbable journey to the Pacquiao fight. In 2012, when he was struggling to get his career off the ground, Algieri left his home base on Long Island and traveled to Oxnard, California, where he worked at the well-known Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in addition to his work with regular trainers Keith Trimble and Tim Lane.
Cicilio Flores, who is in Macau working with fighters on the undercard, is a strength and conditioning coach who worked with Algieri in California over the span of a few fights that took place at Huntington's Paramount Theater.
"I know Chris went to Oxnard on his own dime," Flores said. "He wasn't getting any money. He came out and worked with myself and worked with Robert a little bit. Hands down, he was the hardest-working guy out there, the most disciplined guy I've ever worked with.
"Keith and Tim have done a tremendous job with him, but it's always good to get out of your comfort zone and go to a different gym. That's what I admire that Chris did. Of course, we loved him, and it was a pleasure working with him."
Flores said Algieri held his own in sparring with Marcos Maidana, and he also sparred with Brandon Rios, who lost to Pacquiao a year ago in his last appearance in Macau. Based on Algieri's superb conditioning, Flores said Algieri has the ability to throw 100 punches per round if necessary, and he can hurt an opponent despite a 20-0 record that includes only eight knockouts.
"Chris punches hard," Flores said. "Does he have the one power punch that will knock you out? No, but he's going to hit you a hundred times, and that is just as bad. Chris could hold his own. This is the most important fight of his career, and he deserves everything."
Algieri, Pacquiao and Chinese fighter Zou Shiming were among the boxers who took part in an awkward formal welcoming ceremony called the "Grand Arrival" Tuesday night at the Venetian Macao. All the fighters arrived separately at the front entrance and walked first to an outdoor stage and then through a phalanx of cameras to a stage inside the main lobby, where they lined up and posed next to each other.
Algieri wore sunglasses, and when he and Pacquiao were called upon to face off in the traditional prefight news conference pose, neither moved. Instead, Algieri and Pacquiao avoided all eye contact or acknowledgment of each other and just looked straight ahead at the cameras.