Somodio predicts easy win for Manny

Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - November 9, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - While minding the store at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, Freddie Roach’s Filipino training assistant Marvin Somodio is keeping an ear to the ground in analyzing reports from the camps of WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and unbeaten challenger Chris Algieri as their Nov. 23 showdown draws near in Macau.

Somodio won’t be flying to General Santos City where Pacquiao is training with Roach or to Macau for the fight because he’s busy preparing Ruslan Provodnikov for an appointment with former WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo in Moscow on Nov. 28. He’s also watching over other fighters left in his care by Roach at the Wild Card Gym. Two Filipinos now training in the facility are Michael Farenas who takes on Jose Pedraza in an IBF superfeatherweight title eliminator in Puerto Rico on Nov. 14 and former WBC/IBF lightflyweight and WBA/WBO flyweight titlist Brian Viloria who returns to action in Glendale on Dec. 6.

“I won’t be able to go to GenSan or Macau because I’m getting Ruslan ready for his fight in Moscow and I’m also working with Frankie Gomez,” said the 31-year-old Somodio by text. “Please send my regards to coach Freddie. I know he’s super busy in GenSan right now.” Gomez, 22, is a lightwelterweight contender with an 18-0 record, including 13 KOs, six in the first round. Roach recently called Gomez the next world champion in his star-studded stable.

Regarding Pacquiao’s coming fight, Somodio said it shouldn’t be a problem beating Algieri. “I think it will be an easy fight for Manny as long as he’s in good condition,” he said. “Algieri has no power and if it goes the distance, nobody can outscore Manny when it comes to volume punching.”

Somodio said he was in Provodnikov’s corner when the Russian lost a split 12-round decision to Algieri in New York last June. Algieri went down twice in the first round and endured a swollen right eye to survive the full route. Somodio said Provodnikov deserved to win the verdict.

“After knocking down Algieri twice in the first round, Ruslan focused on scoring a knockout and that’s why he got a little tense,” continued Somodio. “Algieri has a good jab if you let him get away with it. But if you strike first or counter him right away, he won’t be able to throw the jab consistently and he’ll think twice before jabbing. Manny is good at countering the jab. If you notice in Manny’s previous fights, he does a good job of neutralizing an opponent’s jab with his left. And Manny is a lot faster than Ruslan.”

Somodio said if there is a rematch between Provodnikov and Algieri, he has no doubt that the Russian will win. “We’ll prepare a better gameplan,” he said. “Besides, I think Algieri didn’t really win their first fight. Ruslan deserved to win. Algieri threw more jabs but Ruslan’s punches were more effective.”

Somodio said with Algieri moving up in weight, he wouldn’t be surprised if Pacquiao scores a knockout. “Algieri is just a lightwelterweight,” he said. “With his size, it’s very possible that Manny will knock him out.”

Pacquiao hasn’t scored a knockout since halting Miguel Cotto in 2009. Five of Pacquiao’s next eight opponents after Cotto outweighed him so that it hasn’t been easy knocking out bigger fighters. Algieri, who scaled 140 pounds for Provodnikov, is moving up to welterweight to challenge Pacquiao at a catchweight of 144.

Pacquiao has been involved in fights with mutually-agreed weight limits but opponents, not him, had to scale down like Oscar de la Hoya, Cotto and Antonio Margarito. In Algieri’s case, he’ll go up in weight and Pacquiao will go down although only slightly. Pacquiao weighed 145 pounds in his last two fights against Brandon Rios and Timothy Bradley. He scaled 144 in stopping Cotto.

Because Algieri isn’t a power puncher, Pacquiao will likely be on attack mode from the first bell. Algieri will use his jab to keep Pacquiao away so the key is how to press the attack without being stymied by the New Yorker’s five-inch reach advantage. Algieri’s record is 20-0, with 8 KOs and four of his stoppage victims had losing records, indicating a low quality of opposition. Five of his last six bouts went the distance.

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said Algieri is a “major threat” to Pacquiao because “he knows his way around the ring.” Algieri said his style will give Pacquiao fits. He’ll try to make it a tactical fight. “Pacquiao likes to dart in and out, picking his spots,” said Algieri, quoted by Jack Hirsch in Boxing News. “He does better with guys who move forward and cover up. They are tailor-made for him. Pacquiao was phenomenal at 126 pounds but lost something when he moved up in weight although you have to give him credit for staying on top for so long.”                                            

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