CHRIS ALGIERI may have started out a kickboxer but he now finds himself days away from competing at boxing’s highest level, taking on Manny Pacquiao in Macau on Saturday (November 22).
Victory over Ruslan Provodnikov in June won Algieri this shot at the big time. “When Bob Arum says something, it’s a big deal,” he told Boxing News. “There were mutterings of [Pacquiao] immediately after the fight at the post-fight press conference and it was a good fight to make. It’s an interesting match-up. When the talks started more and more, I had a pretty good feeling I was going to get it.”
It’s long journey to go from kickboxing to becoming a top class prizefighter. “Boxing’s a much faster sport. There are a lot more combinations to be thrown, kicks take longer to do so you can throw more punch techniques in the time it takes to throw a kick. Plus the talent pool is just so much greater, there are so many more boxers than kickboxers. Plus there are guys who live this. Kickboxing doesn’t really pay the bills so these guys, who are fighting for millions of dollars, they can put more of their life into it. Not to say that kickboxers aren’t dedicated but it’s just a different lifestyle that a boxer can utilize for training,” the New Yorker said.
Algieri takes a scientific approach to his preparation. “I’m a nutritionist and chef. I cook all my own food and I am involved every step of the way when it comes to the structure and scheduling of our training. We sit down together as a team and we go through what the processes are going to be, what we’re going to be working on, how the strength and conditioning is going to change over camp. I monitor my own weight. In terms of making weight that’s entirely up to me. But there’s communication always with myself and my coaches,” he said. “I think our advantage consists in the team, from the team communication and the unity that we share.”
Before travelling to Macau he based himself at the Venetian in Las Vegas, a city where he regularly trains. “I’ve had my last three camps here, this is my fifth camp in total that I’ve done in Las Vegas. My trainer Tim Lane actually lives in Las Vegas. I have a trainer, Keith Trimble who’s in New York but I come out here for Tim but also there’s so many more boxers out here. California’s not far, so we can always get guys coming from there. I’m fighting in a hotel, I’m fighting in the Venetian Macau, I’m living in the Venetian Las Vegas. They’re nearly identical so it’s good for me to get comfortable,” Chris said.
Algieri believes his style will pose Pacquiao problems. “I’m not big on comparing and contrasting with other fighters because this is a rhythmn sport,” he notes. “It’s the rhythm that matters. A guy like Antonio Margarito, who’s similar to my height, he’s not a rhythmic fighter. He’s not a jabber. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t utilize head movement. He comes forward, he covers up and throws big punches. Trying to compare myself with him, it doesn’t even make sense. So I’m not one to really study and look at other fighters because those fighters aren’t me… My boxing style in general utilizes my height as part of my style. It’s nothing new there. It’s not like I really, really have to work on that part of my game because that’s just part of my game in general.
“People make lot of comments about the height, that’s just because it’s so obvious, I’m so much taller. That’s not going to be the deciding factor in this fight. The deciding factor’s going to be my mental approach and my mental preparedness going into the fight.
“I’m giving him a different look. He hasn’t fought a young, hungry, undefeated champion with the skills and athleticism that I bring to the table. I really see a lot of similarities between the young Pacquiao and myself right now. I’m on the way up, I’m already a world champion but I want bigger and better things. He was there 15 years ago. That’s just the nature of the sport and that’s just the nature of the world, it’s the cycle of life.”