Chris Algieri Meets the Press

By Robert Ecksel on November 12, 2014
Chris Algieri Meets the Press
There’s nothing thuggish about Algieri. He seems as far from streets as Gene Tunney.

“I have seen videos of Sugar Ray Robinson and Willie Pep who did a million other things than just punch…”

In anticipation of WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquaio’s Nov. 22 fight at Venetian Macau’s Cotai Arena in Macau, China, his challenger, WBO light welterweight champion Chris Algieri met with the press yesterday via teleconference call and did not disappointment. He was articulate. He was gracious. He speaks English like a pro. And he hasn’t buckled under the yoke of the “real-life Rocky” meme with which he has been saddled.

To have gotten a fight with Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) is a major accomplishment. Whether Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) deserves the shot depends on how one scored his last fight against Ruslan Provodnikov. I had the Long Islander winning the fight. He clearly outboxed the one-dimensional slugger from Beryozovo, Russia. But I’m not convinced that he has what it takes to defeat Pacquiao, who is neither one-dimensional nor a slugger, but who may nevertheless be ripe for the taking.

Once the formalities were dispensed with, during which time Pacquiao’s promoter, the effervescent Bob Arum, cracked jokes, and Algieri’s promoter, the dry as a martini Joe DeGuardia, hewed to the script, the call was turned over to Algieri, who has a career in medicine awaiting him if the fight with Manny doesn’t go as planned.

“Medical School is the next step in my career,” he said. “There is no doubt about that. My mind is still hungry and I want to continue my education. But that is on hold right now. Now I am focusing full time on my boxing career. We are at the elite level right now and it takes 100% focus.”

He is indeed at the elite level. Pacquiao has slipped, as all fighters slip eventually, and Algieri may be the right fighter at the right time to take advantage of the slippage. But Algieri will have to fight the fight of his life, or box the fight of his life, to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Algieri has carried this promotion. Pacquiao’s legislative duties, modesty, and halting English don’t offer the media much to work with, whereas Algieri is loquacious and has absorbed the attention like a sponge.

“It’s been fantastic. It’s the kind of stuff that you want as a fighter coming up. I am now a champion and fighting at the elite level and you want this kind of exposure. A lot of guys say this, but when it comes they really don’t want it. I’m not that kind of guy. This stuff gets me up. My open workouts are like fight day. I’ve got a lot of pressure on me and I ride it to the top. I am enjoying my time here and my time under the microscope.”

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, was in Provodnikov’s corner the night Algieri defeated him and wasn’t impressed by what he saw. The smack-talking Hall of Fame trainer doesn’t think Algieri belongs in the same ring as Manny, much less have a chance of beating him. But Algieri disagrees. He expects to win. He also expects to transform the sport in the process.

“I would hope that it would attract a more mainstream audience and have a crossover appeal,” he said. “We need to get more people watching boxing. I love this sport and anything we can do to help it is great. The more attention that is drawn to any of the fighters, especially in a positive way, is good for the sport. And if it’s elevating my career, what the hell, let’s do it.”

There’s nothing thuggish about Algieri. He seems as far from streets as Gene Tunney, to whom he has been compared. But he’s comfortable in his own skin. He is who he is and can’t think of any reason to change.

“I am not going to change just to promote a fight. My stance is to not go back-and-forth and I am not fighting Freddie. That’s not the man I have to box with so I am not going to go back-and-forth firing darts at each other. You don’t see Pacquiao doing that. That’s Freddie’s prerogative and that’s what he likes to do. That’s not me. Even if it helps the promotion of the fight, that’s not my style.”

Algieri analyzed the differences between Pacquiao and Provodnikov.

“Let me touch on Provodnikov’s style. He is a lot better than people think. Every fight he has lost has been a very close fight. He really brought it and he is a great champion. On top of being an exciting fighter the guy is good. And to tell you the truth the Ruslan I fought was the best Ruslan I have ever seen. They guy was cutting off the ring and his technique was very sharp and he was faster than usual. I made a mistake early and we all know how that went. I don’t want to downplay Ruslan’s power at all. He’s a fantastic fighter but in terms of his style, Manny’s [style is] completely different and the preparations for each are completely different. But that is no different for me because I am always fighting guys with different styles—righty, lefty, tall, short, power-puncher, fast guys, counter guys. I have not been one of those champions that have been fed perfect guys to make me look great.

“I feel like I fight an aggressive style: smart/aggressive. I would have been more aggressive in the Ruslan fight if not because of my eye early in the fight. I had to protect that eye and be even smarter than I normally would. Don’t be confused with my style just from that one fight, because I know a lot of you have only seen that one fight. I am an aggressive style boxer and I will be in there to mix it up, but it’s going to be in a smart way. I box but I have never heard anyone say that I was a boring fighter or that they didn’t really like watching my style. I use a lot of the sweet science as they say but that sort of stuff is exciting to watch. I throw a lot of punches. I am an active fighter. All of my fights have been exciting, even the lopsided ones. I am not concerned about taking a conscious approach to making my style more exciting. I think I go out there and fight in the manner that works best for me getting a win and it just so happens that it’s good to watch.”

Algieri’s analytic approach may not be to everyone’s taste, but his ability to break down a fighter’s style in a comprehensible way is commendable under any circumstances. On the subject Floyd Mayweather, about whom little was said, Algieri compared his style of fighting to Money May’s.

“I throw a lot more punches than Floyd. He’s very efficient with his punches and when he throws he lands a very high percentage, but he’s not exceptionally busy every round. I think I bring a lot of energy and combinations and punches every single round. Even when I’m not throwing I am moving my upper body, I’m moving my feet, I’m moving my head, I am changing levels—all those things are important and they count and they are a part of boxing. It’s kind of a lost art because it is difficult to teach and unless you are an educated fan or a trainer or a fighter you don’t even see those kinds of things. Bringing some of the finer elements of the sport to the ring.”

Speaking of lost arts, Algieri closed with a comment on the curious Mr. Hopkins.

“Bernard Hopkins’ style is the way…everything he does is for a reason—little head feints, little hand movements, little shoulder rolls and gestures are all finer points of the sweet science. Before contemporary times everyone did that kind of stuff. I have seen videos of Sugar Ray Robinson and Willie Pep who did a million other things than just punch, to set up a perfect shot or to offset their opponents’ rhythm. Boxing is incredibly complicated. It’s not Rock’em Sock’em Robots.”

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  1. Old Yank 01:52pm, 11/17/2014

    If Algieri is career-serious about his “next step”, it may be the worst of both worlds for him—looking so good in losing to Pacquiao that his med career continues on hold.

    The judges chosen for this bout may prove very critical to the outcome. I thought Algieri was credited by two judges with a lot of amateur-like contact against Provodnikov. Don’t get me wrong, he scored—but all the contact was not necessarily worthy of pro-level scoring. And watching him come off the mat and take control of the bout was more than fun to watch. But this bout against Pacquiao may very well have score cards that are way over the place – we could literally see a judge crediting Algieri for every amateur contact he makes (like I saw in the Provodnikov bout) and another ignoring it completely.

    I would not be surprised to see a split decision win for Pacquiao with the split cards worlds apart.

  2. Bill Angresano 01:18pm, 11/14/2014

              LONG night for Manny Pacquiao ! Algeri the consumate serious dedicated Boxer athlete. Mind over matter…

  3. Pete The Sneak 04:54pm, 11/13/2014

    True, this may not be the Pac Man of Yore, but he will still have enough to outbox and outsmart Algieri to a UD win…I love Ruslan Provo, but if he can’t get you out early, he’ll spend the rest of the fight trying to do so. Pac will not do that. He will out maneuver CA with in and out boxing ability leaving Algieri countering for the most part catching a lot of air…Pac reminds me lately of a young baseball pitcher who at one time was able to blow the ball by you at 100 MPH, but has aged enough to now become a real ‘pitcher’ who fools you with a ton of breaking balls, sliders and curveballs. Not terribly exciting, but still effective enough to get the W…Peace.

  4. NYIrish 01:57pm, 11/13/2014

    Never underestimate an Italian fighter who lives in a basement.

  5. Galvar 06:40pm, 11/12/2014

    Unfortunately, Manny has lost a bit of speed and power now that he’s not 20 something anymore.  I think he’s going to have a hard time with Agieri.  For some reason, I picture a Rigo/Donaire type if fight.  I’m still rooting for Manny but it’s definitely going to be tough and close.

  6. Koolz 03:59pm, 11/12/2014

    you guys are a joke.  Pacman will out box out fox this imposter.
    Pac will take away Algieri’s Jab, fight at angles never even be in front of This loon to be hit.  He will win just about every round and set a fast pace that Algieri will have to run around the ring to catch up.

    I never even thought Algieri won his last fight.  Judges of that city won that fight… Roach was right.

    Pac is not washed up the guy beat Bradley Twice!

    There two kinds of warriors: 
    One that acts out with aggression and anger
    and the other that is thoughtful and calculating.

  7. Eric 10:16am, 11/12/2014

    Ya gotta root for a 30 year old that lives in his parent’s basement. GEEK POWER!!! Algieri is the Peter Parker of boxing.

  8. Eric 08:38am, 11/12/2014

    Algieri and GGG look more like two former altar boys than undefeated world champion boxers. And Algieri was an undefeated world champ in kickboxing as well. I can remember when Troy Dorsey was the first person to accomplish that feat, you can add Algieri’s name, as well as former fighters Vitali Klitschko & James Warring. Quite an accomplishment to be crowned world champion in two seperate sports. Algieri has come along at the right time and the right place. Manny has been fighting on borrowed time, and I predict Algieri upsets the legend via a split decision. AB or Floyd vs. Algieri? Talk about two polar opposites. Wonder what would go through Algieri’s head while listening to those two Mensa members trash talk at the pressers.

  9. Clarence George 08:14am, 11/12/2014

    College boy, is it?  Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, eh?  When I was a lad, we lived in a shoebox in the middle of the road…and glad to have it, let me tell youse.  Down in the salt mines six days a week, and twice on Sundays, 18 hours a day, 12 cents an hour, a crust of six-week-old bread to eat, fighting off the unwanted attentions of womanless miners…and thankful of the opportunity.  None of this Huntington, Long Island, fancy-schmancy stuff for us.  No “No more buttered scones for me, mater.  I’m off to play the grand piano.”  No sir!

    Top that.

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