Now that all the hype of the Mayweather vs Maidana fight card has concluded, it’s time to turn our sights on the Pacquiao vs Algieri contest to be held at the Cotai Arena in Macau, China on Saturday, November 22. Have you booked your flight? Have you reserved your room at The Venetian Macao-Resort Hotel? With the show’s seating arrangements at 15,000 and only 3,000 rooms available at the hotel, you don’t want to wait too long.
Boxing’s only eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao returns to the Cotai Arena to take on Chris Algieri and defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown a year after defeating Brandon Rios in their 12-round welterweight clash. Pacquiao reigned victorious again in April when he defeated Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas. Now, New York’s undefeated WBO junior welterweight champion and fast-rising star Algieri wants to challenge Pacquiao after earning an impressive split-decision victory in June over the heavily favored Ruslan Provodnikov.
To spice things up, they’ve added World Champions Vasyl Lomachenko and Jesse Vargas plus China’s undefeated top contender Zou Shiming to their pay-per-view undercard. Promoted by Top Rank and Sands China Ltd., in association with MP Promotions, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, Banner Promotions and Tecate, this world welterweight championship event will be produced and distributed live through HBO Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.
Six different nations will be represented by the eight fighters on this telecast. The six gentlemen in the featured bouts boast a combined record of 142-5-3 (79 KOs) a winning percentage of 95% and a victory by knockout ratio of 56%.
Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1 KO) of Odessa, Ukraine, who first gained international renown by winning gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Games as a featherweight and a lightweight, respectively, will be making his first defense of the WBO featherweight title against the No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo of Thailand.
The greatest amateur boxer of his era and arguably of all time, this two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist captured the vacant WBO featherweight title on June 21, winning a scintillating majority decision over the previously unbeaten Gary Russell Jr. It was only Lomachenko’s third professional bout, tying him with Thailand’s Saensak Muangsurin for fewest fights to win a world title. Muangsurin won a junior welterweight title in 1975.
Russell, a former U.S. Olympian, was totally blitzed by Lomachenko who battered him about the ring throughout the fight. From the outset of his pro career, Lomachenko wanted to make it known that he was ready for the best in his division.
“I am very happy and excited to have become a world champion in just my third professional fight. I just followed the plan for the world title fight against Gary Russell – worked the body, made him fight as much as possible and then went to the head. Russell was very fast and I had to take my time. I felt I hurt him a few times and I did not feel his power at all. That was a big win for my country and I know they enjoyed it very much.
Lomachenko made his professional debut in 2013 knocking out the WBO’s No. 7-rated featherweight contender Jose Luis Ramirez (24-2-2, 15 KOs) in the fourth round of a scheduled 10 rounder. Last March, in his second pro fight, he challenged the WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido. Lomachenko lost a split decision to the heavier defending champion whose title was later stripped because he could no longer make the weight limit.
Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (51-1, 33 KOs), made his pro debut in 2003 and captured the Asian featherweight title the following year in just his fifth professional bout. His only blemish is a world title decision loss to the legendary defending WBA featherweight champion Chris John in 2012. He enters his second world championship fight rated at No. 1 and riding a two-year, eight-bout winning streak which includes six victories by way of knockout.
Jessie Vargas (25-0, 9 KOs) of Las Vegas, NV will be defending his WBA super lightweight title against former world champion Antonio DeMarco (31-3-1, 23 KOs) of Tijuana, B. C., Mexico.
“My opponent, Antonio DeMarco, is a tough, rugged fighter who comes to fight. I know this will be a fight fans throughout the world will enjoy. This is very exciting for our team to be part of an event of this magnitude.
“Since I’ll be fighting outside the U.S. for the first time in my professional career, I’m planning on bringing my world title belt back with me.”
Vargas captured the WBA super lightweight title on the April 12 Pacquiao vs. Bradley world title rematch in Las Vegas, winning an unanimous decision over undefeated defending champion Khabib Allakhverdiev. It was a close and competitive match in which Vargas managed to pull out the victory. His impressive resume includes victories over former world champions Stevie Forbes and Vivian Harris plus top contenders Josesito Lopez, Lucky Boy Omotoso and Ray Narh.
In his last fight on August 2nd, he successfully defended his title against undefeated contender Anton “The Pick Hammer” Novikov of Russia by way of an unanimous decision.
DeMarco, a lefty, captured the WBC lightweight championship crown on his second try, winning the vacant title with an 11th-round stoppage of top-rated contender Jorge Linares back in 2011. He successfully defended the title twice during his one-year reign both by knockout against Miguel Roman and John Molina.
Since moving up in weight, he has won three straight, with two of those victories coming by way of knockout. In his last fight, on August 23, he won a 10-round unanimous decision over the fading but still durable, 39 year-old Landro Tyner.
“The goal,” said De Marco, “is to win another world championship and bring it back to Mexico. This is the reason why I keep fighting and this title fight against Vargas is a great opportunity to do just that. I am sure Freddie Roach will have me ready to win the fight and because of our styles, I’m sure this fight with Vargas will be one the fans will really enjoy.”
Zou Shiming (5-0, 1 KO) from Guizhou China and Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (27-0-2, 12 KOs) from Buriram, Thailand will be battling it out in a 12-round WBO flyweight title elimination bout.
The 33 year-old Shiming, one of the most popular athletes ever in China, was the world’s top light flyweight capturing the gold in the World Amateur Championships in 2005, 2007 and 2011, along with the gold in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He also owns an Olympic bronze medal from the 2004 games. These accomplishments made him his nation’s first Olympic medallist in boxing.
Shiming, now trained by Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, will be returning to the ring fresh off his most impressive victory, a 10-round unanimous decision over Top-10 contender Luis De La Rosa to capture the vacant WBO International title. The bout, which took place on July 19 at the same Cotai Arena, confirmed he is indeed a top contender. He’s currently ranked No. 4 by the WBA, No. 5 by the WBO and No. 6 by the WBA.
After winning in his pro debut back on April 6, 2013 over the gritty Eleazar Valenzuela, he followed up with two six-round unanimous decision victories, and then came his first stoppage over Yokthong KKP (15-3, 11 KOs) from Roi-Et, Thailand. All of his professional bouts have taken place at the Cotai Arena.
His opponent, the 33 year-old Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym made his professional debut in 2010 and captured the WBO Oriental junior bantamweight title the following year knocking out Fredirex Rodriguez in the seventh round. After one successful defense he moved down one weight division where he captured the WBO Oriental flyweight title in 2012, which he has held for the past two years. Six of his last 10 victories have been by knockout, including his last one, a seventh-round TKO of Oscar Raknafa on June 6, 2014 to retain his title. Onesongchaigym, who is 2½ inches shorter than Shiming, is currently rated No. 3 by the WBO.
Major players and their startling comments:
Hall of Fame Trainer Freddie Roach, April, 2013: “Zou Shiming has a lot of talent. We have a great talent on our hands. Within a year, I predict he’ll be world champion, and we’re going to put him on the fast track because his experience is really that great. He’s learned how to be a pro fighter very fast. He amazes me every day. The harder I push, the harder he works. I love that in a fighter. That’s why he’ll be champion because he has such dedication, desire and we have such great material to work with.”
Hall of Fame broadcaster Larry Merchant: “With the casinos doing what I’ve heard is eight times as much casino business as Las Vegas, all those zeroes bounce around in the heads of promoters.” Merchant was hired by Top Rank to be an analyst in his first gig since leaving HBO in December, 2012.
Hall of Fame Promoter Bob Arum: “With Zou (Shiming) topping the card and drawing thousands of wealthy Chinese gamblers, money for the show is basically no object.”
Did you know trivia? Take notes – there may be a test later.
Since losing the four rounder to Shiming back on April 6, 2013, Eleazar “Tronco” Valenzuela of Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico has gone 9-0 with 8 knockouts to improve his record to 11-2-2, 9 KOs.
Many Mexicans warmly refer to Pac-Man as “The Mexicutioner.” Why? Boxing fans respect his dominance, even when he has a record 20-2-1 versus their fellow countrymen.
When Pacquiao fights, the crime rate goes down. The police in Manila say crime drops dramatically during a Pacquiao fight. Even the regular squabbles between communist insurgents and Muslim secessionists put their squabbles on ice to watch a Pacquiao fight. In simpler terms, nearly the entire population of roughly 90.5 million stop whatever they’re doing to watch his fights.
Listen up all promoters: When asked about the future of Chinese star Zou Shiming, Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc. was quoted as saying: “I guarantee you before he retires, he’ll make more money in a fight than Pacquiao has ever made in any single fight, more than $28 million because I know what’s happening in that market.”
Note well: Shiming is now well into his second year of his four year contract with Mr. Arum.
Below are some of the recommended sights to see while visiting Macau:
Senado Square has been Macau’s urban centre for centuries and is still a popular venue for celebrations. It’s paved with a wave-patterned mosaic colored stones created by the Portuguese.
When in Macau you know it’s mandatory you take your honey for a ride in an authentic Venetian gondola.
Visit the A-Ma Temple which is dedicated to the seafarers’ goddess dating back to the early 16th century. According to legend, A-Ma, a poor girl looking for passage to Canton, was refused by the wealthy junk owners but a lowly fisherman took her on board. A storm came up and wrecked all but the boat carrying the girl. On arrival in Macau she vanished to reappear as a goddess on the same spot where the fishermen built her temple.
Macau’s Fisherman’s Wharf is a park and first-ever cultural, themed and creative attraction that is centrally located. It combines dining, shopping, entertainment, accommodation, convention and exhibition facilities in one location.
Soaring 338 meters above the city, the Macau Tower is the 10th highest freestanding tower in the world. From the outdoor observation deck you get to see these breathtaking views of not only Macau but the Pearl River and on a clear day the islands of Hong Kong.
The 20 meter tall Kun Iam Statue made of bronze is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy. The dome shape base is like a lotus flower. It is an ecumenical centre where information is available on Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
The St. Lawrence Church is probably the richest and most beautiful church in Macau, not only for its decorations but because of the objects displayed in the church. Originally built of wood in the 16th century, it was later renovated in the 19th century.
City of Dreams is another must see destination with it’s big Bubble, uniquely integrated entertainment, array of accommodations, regional and international dining, plus designer brand shopping.
The Macau Museum is there to preserve the cultural traditions, usages and habits, which specifically belong to Macau in a place where the East gets to mingle with the West.
The Camoes Garden and Grotto is Macau’s largest and perhaps oldest park. After the British moved out in 1835, it was bought by a Portuguese merchant who later built his home there. Since the merchant raised doves, there are usually hundreds of doves hovering about the garden to afford you a marvelous experience.
After the merchant’s death, the garden was donated to the government and later opened to the public as a memorial garden dedicated to the famous Portuguese poet Louis de Camoes. More info to follow.