Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach hopes new WBO light-welterweight champion Chris Algieri will grant a rematch to his fighter, Ruslan Provodnikov, before pursuing a big-money fight against Manny Pacquiao.
Algieri rose from two knockdowns in the first round to claim a split decision from Provodnikov and become the new champion. He later expressed his desire to challenge Pacquiao, the reigning WBO welterweight king.
Roach did not thumb down an Algieri-Pacquiao fight, but said he prefers to see a Provodnikov rematch first.
"I'd rather like to see him fight a rematch first," the trainer told RingTV. "And if he won it, and he won the fight clearly, then I think that he might deserve a fight like that."
Roach also proposed that an Algieri-Provodnikov rematch should take place somewhere other than New York.
"I think if we were somewhere neutral, that would work," said Roach. "Or maybe, we could do a rematch in Russia."
As for a Pacquiao-Algieri fight, Roach said it may be held at either the light-welterweight or welterweight divisions.
"I don't know if he's that big yet. He's still a 140-pounder moving up to 147 to fight Pacquiao. Or maybe Pacquiao has been thinking about going back to 140," Roach mused. "We've kicked that around a little bit, if the right opponent comes."
What Roach is sure of, however, is that he will “have no problem getting Pacquiao ready to beat” Algieri.
The trainer did give Algieri his due, commending him for overcoming the two knockdows.
"He fought with a closed eye. A lot of guys would have quit. He’s a tough kid. I give him props on that," said Roach. "I thought we won the fight, but he fought a ballsy, ballsy fight. He fought hard."