By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
On November 22, worlds collide in Macau, China as living legend Manny Pacquiao takes on undefeated upstart Chris Algieri in order to defend his WBO welterweight title. Algieri, a 30 year-old from Huntington, New York, is a former kickboxing world champion as well as nutritionist, athletic trainer and resident of his parent’s basement. He earned this opportunity with a split-decision victory over Ruslan Provodnikov to win WBO light welterweight title after sustaining back-to-back knockdowns and a swollen eye.
This match marks the first time Algieri has prepared for a bout without having any obligations to his other jobs.
“This is actually the first time I’m fighting when I’m not working as well,” he said in an article in the Boston Herald. “I’ve been a full-time boxer for this camp, so all this [promotional] stuff I’ve been doing is kind of on par with stuff I’ve been doing anyway. I’m a guy who does a million things in addition to boxing. I was training people on the Tuesday of fight week [of the Provodnikov fight]. I had some very fit people. I had a very varied client list.”
While it is easy to see why Pacquiao is coming in as a heavy favorite against an unknown competitor like Algieri, it would not be fair to completely write off the American due to his championship pedigree in both kickboxing and boxing, but also his remarkable toughness and resolve that was showcased in the Provodnikov matchup.
In a 2012 USA Today article, the fighter discussed the laundry list of accomplishments that he has and goals that he has set for himself (world class kickboxer, bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition, desire to go to medical school) and elaborated on why he’s a boxer.
“I think I’m probably an anomaly in that sense,” Algieri said. “I come from a Long Island suburb, and I still live with my family. I don’t box for a need to get out of something or to escape something. I went to school all through my fight career. It’s just a passion I have for the sport. I box because I love to fight. I enjoy the training, I enjoy fight night, it’s the best feeling in the world to be in that ring, and to win. I’m basically chasing a dream and a passion.”
Algieri’s love of the fight game notwithstanding, Pacquiao’s manager Freddie Roach has engaged in some verbal sparring lately, saying that the New Yorker’s “got a good jab, that’s it,” he “couldn’t break an egg” with his punches and “He’s a tough kid, but tough kids don’t win big fights.” However, the challenger claims to have shaken off the criticisms in an interview with fightnews.com.
“He [Roach] is wasting his time because I don’t even read those reports, so that’s the first thing,” Algieri said. “It seems kind of odd for him to be coming out so much and saying so many different things and every day it’s a new thing. But like I said, I don’t read them and I don’t care about them and it doesn’t make a difference come fight night. I would imagine it is some kind of strategy, a kind of mental game or whatnot. Freddie’s been around a long time and maybe this has worked for him in the past, but it’s not going to work on me.”
The collision between Algieri and Pacquiao is 9 p.m. Saturday on HBO PPV.