Every so often in the world of sports, stars align and the sports gods connive to allow magical moments that become instant classics. They remain topics of discussions decades down the road and become legends passed down to future generations.
Surely any sports fan has witnessed something so amazingly improbable happen wherein the drama and turn of events appear to be too good to be true; it’s as if they were scripted.
This isn’t one of those moments. Just the same, it was an unintentional masterstroke of timing that would make any screenplay writer blush.
“I’m going to let him go in one more round. I got him in the cage right now, but I’ll let him out of the cage,” Algieri’s trainer Tony Lane vowed to HBO commentator Max Kellerman during a live in-match interview in the middle of the fight’s ninth round.
At that point, Algieri was getting peppered with punches from different levels and angles by Pacquiao and was far behind in points with three knockdowns already scored against him.
And when Kellerman tried to confirm whether their game plan was to knock Pacquiao out in the latter rounds, Lane responded saying “Yes, but I still got him in the cage. He listens to me very well. I’m gonna let him loose in one more round. In round 10 or 11, I’m gonna let him go.”
Then boom! Right on cue, Pacquiao landed the most devastating punch of the bout and dropped Algieri on his rear with a perfectly timed left straight to the jaw not a second after his opponent’s trainer forecasted his alleged impending demise.
The incident made for fortuitously good tv that surely led to more than a few attentive Pacquiao viewers to yell out “say what?!” or “anong knockout?!” as Algieri’s trunks bounced off the canvas.
Subsequently when the cameras focused on Algieri’s corner in-between the succeeding rounds, Lane could be heard in the background apparently stuck in defending his statement as he suggested to his ward that they were “where they wanted to be” and that they were “doing beautiful” as if to support his claims on tv that they were on the cusp of executing their master plan to knock out Pacquiao.
I only stumbled upon all of these two days after the bout when I was studying the replay of the fight with the volume on. If I’m not covering a fight live, I usually watch fights (and basketball games) I cover on mute so I won’t be influenced by commentators’ bias and point of view.
It was comical to me how Lane kept insisting his comments to Algieri in the corner instead of assessing what was actually going in, which was the fact that his fighter just got hit with a bazooka and is still trying to regain his senses. Others simply thought Lane was out of his mind or didn’t know what he was talking about.
After round 10 wherein Algieri stumbled and got knocked down once again, Lane was heard telling Algieri that he was finally “letting him out of the cage,” and even proclaimed before the final round that “this is the Chris Algieri Show.”
Forget that Lane was proclaiming a knockout win by his ward prior to the fight and that they were to shock the world and give people “goose bumps”, his comments at the end of the fight while cornering Algieri was enough confirmation that he was either delusional or watching a totally different fight. His reactions and instructions were so detached from what was going on in the ring that the only way it would make sense is if Algieri is a delusional kid himself.
I’ve never ever heard a trainer tell his fighter after getting his senses scrambled and dropped six times in a fight that they “are exactly where they want to be”. Imagine an NBA coach being so calm and complimentary of his team in Game 7 of the Finals wherein his team is down by 50 in the fourth quarter. I am not questioning Lane’s skills as a trainer, because I’m sure he and Algieri didn’t get to where they were by learning the sport while playing Fight Night on XBox. From a viewer’s perspective, however, he sure looked and sounded a little darned foolish.
Well, at least he didn’t claim they got “robbed” after the fight.