Manny Pacquiao has addressed his next opponent for the first time, seeming to compliment and criticize him at the same time.
Pacquiao (56-5-3) will defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight title against Chris Algieri (20-0) on November 23 in Macau.
Algieri has spoken many times about the upcoming fight, proclaiming his confidence and saying that he is a worthy opponent of Pacquiao, an assertion that some boxing fans would dispute.
Pacquiao finally spoke about Algieri to reporters on Monday, saying that he had watched Algieri’s last fight.
“I saw his fight with Ruslan,” Pacquiao said, referring to the bout that seemed to earn Algieri the show at Pacman. “He took a lot of bad punches from Ruslan but he’s tough.”
But Pacquiao added that Algieri doesn’t seem that big of a deal.
“He can box. I’m not saying he’s really good but he’s not bad,” he said, according to AFP. “He’s okay.”
Both Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach expressed concern about Algieri’s height and reach–in the former category, Algieri is four inches taller than Pacquiao’s 5’6″–but not much else.
“It surprised me because I actually think Ruslan won that fight. (Algieri) got beat up a little bit,” said Roach.
“Algieri has a good reach advantage and we’re going to have to get past that and his jab. That will be our biggest problem. We have ways to do that.”
“The biggest challenge for me is to fight another tall guy. I have to use my speed and footwork for this fight,” said Pacquiao.
Provided Pacquiao wins as expected by many, his next fight could very well be the long-anticipated showdown with Floyd Mayweather, although Amir Khan has been clamoring for a shot at both of them.