Trio Los Buenos or Bobos?
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2014 - 12:00am

There were three sparmates recently brought in from the US to spar with WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao in General Santos City as he prepares for his title defense against unbeaten Chris Algieri in Macau on Nov. 23.

One thing the sparmates have in common is they’re all tall and rangy. Stan (The Man) Martyniouk is 5-10, Mike Jones is 6-0 and Viktor Postol is 5-11. Algieri is 5-10 with a wingspan of 72 inches. Jones’ reach is exactly 72 inches or five less than Pacquiao’s.

Martyniouk was also hired to spar with Nonito Donaire, Jr. in training for Nicholas Walters. Donaire lost to Walters via a sixth round technical knockout in Carson City last Saturday. Walters enjoyed a five-inch reach advantage and Donaire had difficulty finding his range. The discrepancy was evident in the jabs they threw and landed. Donaire connected on only 4-of-59 jabs while Walters hit 44-of-162. The difference between Martyniouk and Walters is power. Martyniouk has scored only two KOs in a 13-2 record. Walters has now posted 21 KOs in 25 wins. If Donaire got ready for Walters by sparring with Martyniouk, he could’ve been misled.

 Martyniouk, 29, is an on-and-off fighter who seems more interested in a modelling career than boxing. Last August, he lost a split eight-round decision to Ivan Najera in Glendale. That was after a one-year layoff from outpointing former Pacquiao sparmate David Rodela in an eight-rounder. Before the Rodela match, Martyniouk hadn’t fought in nine months. He turned pro in 2007 and didn’t even fight in 2011.

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Born in Estonia, Martyniouk comes from a boxing family. His grandfather, father and uncle were boxers. He logged 85 amateur bouts and even represented the US at the 2005 AIBA World Cup in Moscow. But history shows that Martyniouk’s heart isn’t in the game. He may be tall like Algieri, doesn’t punch hard like Algieri and probably runs like Algieri but isn’t as skilled as Algieri. Is he an asset in Pacquiao’s training camp? Obviously, he didn’t help Donaire much in getting ready for Walters. That’s not Martyniouk’s fault, though. Donaire should’ve known better than to hire a powder-puff puncher like him. By the way, Martyniouk is a lightweight and Algieri is fighting Pacquiao at a catchweight of 144.

There’s also Jones who’s 31 and coming off back-to-back knockout losses. The Philadelphian had a blistering start as a pro, winning 26 straight fights, 19 by KO. Then, he ran into Randall Bailey in a battle for the vacant IBF welterweight crown in June 2012. Jones was decked in the 10th and 11th before the carnage was halted. Jones took a 26-month layoff and came back only to surrender to Jaime Herrera in the seventh round last August. Again, the question: Is he an asset in Pacquiao’s training camp? Jones is tall and rangy like Algieri but doesn’t fight like Algieri. Worse, Jones has been exposed as an overrated fighter who could be ready to call it quits.

Finally, there is Postol who’s tall like Algieri, a lightwelterweight like Algieri and undefeated like Algieri. He may be the only bright spot in the sparring threesome. Postol, 30, has a 26-0 record with 11 KOs. Four of the Ukrainian’s last five wins were on points. Postol has held the WBC International silver and WBC International lightwelterweight belts so he’s no stranger to title fights. Last May, he stopped Turkey’s Selcuk Aydin in the 11th round. One of his victims is DeMarcus Corley, a journeyman who once staggered Floyd Mayweather and has fought the likes of Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah and Miguel Cotto. Postol is a boxer-puncher who relies more on his skills than power, something that makes him a closer resemblance to Algieri than Martyniouk or Jones.

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Algieri has never been known for his power with only eight KOs in a 20-0 record. Five of his last six bouts went the distance. Although he’s the WBO lightwelterweight champion, Algieri isn’t as experienced as Postol in fighting for a title. Algieri has figured in only one 12-rounder and four 10-rounders. Of his eight KO victims, four had losing records, meaning more losses than wins. One was Julias Edmonds who came in with a 7-10 mark. Another was Edward Valdez whose record was 3-6-2. A fighter whom Algieri beat via a decision was Jason Jordan, brandishing a dismal record of 6-27-4.

Clearly, Algieri’s quality of opposition is atrociously poor. Provodnikov was his only credible opponent and claim to fame but in fairness to Algieri, the New Yorker with a Master’s degree showed a lot of heart in repulsing the Russian. Algieri was down twice in the first round and battled back with a swollen-shut right eye to wrest the WBO 140-pound crown.

To be sure, Pacquiao isn’t going to be lulled into a false sense of security beating up his sparmates. The defending titlist knows Algieri’s style could pose a problem if he doesn’t fight smart. That’s where Freddie Roach comes in. With Roach in Pacquiao’s corner, not even a Master’s degree can save Algieri from being outsmarted in the ring.

ALGIERI BEFORE THE RODELA CARSON CITY CHRIS ALGIERI DONAIRE JONES MARTYNIOUK PACQUIAO POSTOL WALTERS
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