MANILA – Unbeaten American Chris Algieri is unconcerned about the backlash from boxing fans following the announcement that he will fight Filipino ring icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao in November.
Algieri earned his shot at Pacquiao after he upset Russia's Ruslan Provodnikov last June, but he is mostly unknown among casual boxing fans.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reported that upon the announcement of the Pacquiao-Algieri match-up, "social media erupted, with the usual vitriol being spewed toward Top Rank chairman Bob Arum and … Manny Pacquiao."
"This (Pacquiao vs. Algieri) clearly isn't a fight fans have been clamoring for or are desperate to see," wrote Iole.
Algieri, who hails from New York and will be counted upon to promote the bout in the United States, is unfazed by the negative reaction from the fans.
"It doesn't bother me," Algieri told Iole. "Those are uneducated fans."
The 30-year-old is also confident that he will gain a greater following once they start promoting the fight.
"Once the press tour happens, and the media starts talking about me, and my camp revs up and everyone sees the things I bring to the table, there will be more interest in the fight," said Algieri.
"The people who are saying that are the same ones who were saying that before Provodnikov. They didn't know me," he added.
Arum, who announced the fight yesterday, called the match-up an "interesting fight" and has been vocal in his belief that the college-educated, well-spoken Algieri can draw the interest of boxing fans.
"This is a college-educated kid, a good boxer, the kind of kid who will draw interest other than just the hardcore boxing fan. And the kid can also fight," said Arum in an ESPN report.
Algieri, for his part, is confident that stylistically, he matches up well with Pacquiao.
"The size, the way he moves, where he is at this point in his career… he's never fought a guy who is as big or as athletic as I am," said Algieri.
Arum meanwhile said Pacquiao is "100 percent for it," referring to the Algieri fight.
"He said Algieri seems like a nice young man and he saw his fight with Provodnikov," said Arum. "Manny said he thought it would be a good fight and he was okay with fighting Algieri."