It’s a different life for Chris Algieri that he’s living right now. Yes, familiar elements are still present; he still lives with his mom and dad in Huntington. But his day planner now, it’s packed with potentially lucrative meetings, and sessions booked with major media and training sessions for the fight which would, if he won, catapult him into the realm which he currently resides in, to a whole nother space. Put this way: if Chris Algieri beats Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 22 in Macau, this young man will enjoy a brand of attention and acclaim that no boxer in this nation has seen since…it’s been awhile.
Dispense with political correctness and an admirable but facile stance on the invisibility of race, for a moment. A Caucasian pugilistic sensation, one with a supremely telegenic face, an absence of run-ins with authorities, with an ability to articulate in engaging and enlightened repartee, that dude is going to get catapulted into a special place.
But first, he will taste a nibble from that tree. He and reps are chatting with Nike, Adidas and Under Armour about wearing their gear for the Pacman clash; that would earn some sweet pocket change, enough to make a dent in a Manhattan bachelor pad, if he so desires…or maybe get started on a chain of joints like Joe Namath used to have. I ran that by Algieri on a Wednesday chat, partially joking, but not fully, because we should never underestimate the power of messaging, of marketing inundation, while focusing on a magnetic sort who could attract eyeballs from so many different demos. This kid could, as I told you after he beat Ruslan Provodnikov in June and started politicking for a Pacquiao scrap, find himself in ultra-rare territory.
But I am getting ahead of myself, merely considering the angles. So, I think, is Algieri, casually considering the possibilities if his upset train keeps chugging. We chat while he’s enroute on the Long Island Railroad to NYC for some social media training at HBO, which is packaging the Pacquiao-Algieri PPV promotion with Top Rank, the 29-year-old hitter. He assures me, all this endorsement talk and the like is definitely ancillary to him. “I’ve kept up with my workouts,” he says. “And (friend and media relations pro Kevin Rooney Jr.) has been handling the media and scheduling stuff.” Wednesday would have been Algieri’s fourth day of doing boxing training, all the typical stuff aside from sparring. He works with his coach Keith Trimble, who has a gym in the LI town of Bellmore. Sparring will start soon, and Algieri admits he’s looking forward to some swapping of leather. “”Yeah, I like to punch people in the face,” he says. “I’m looking forward to doing that again.”
He’s been here, there everywhere, on Fox News, on this show and that, getting trotted out as a bigwig and tons of functions. On Saturday, his alma mater, Stony Brook, will honor him. Thus far, the upwave of interest and buzz has been basically a smooth sail. “Yeah, I haven’t had any beefs or anything. I’ve actually never been in a street fight.” He is, yes, looking forward to the college’s “Chris Algieri Day,” and noted he will not be available should any co-eds look to snag him for some keg stand sessioning. “None for me,” he says, chuckling.
The Long Island boxer will be in Vegas to train with coach Tim Lane for five weeks, and then to Macau for a total of ten days. It will be a majestic Thanksgiving should he come back having beaten The Congressman, it should almost go without saying.
Algieri isn’t even hoping a smidgem he says, that Pacman is looking past him, dabbling too much in his hoop dreams, and leaving himself open to be upset. “Manny can be seemingly all over the place and be focused,” Algieri says. “I’ve just got to focus on myself.”
That focus includes a desire, not a burning one, as there is a large hurdle to traverse in Macau, to fight Floyd Mayweather after Pacquiao. Did he watch Floyd’s latest outing, against Marcos Maidana? “I did,” Algieri says. “It was typical Floyd. I expected Maidana to press the action more, Floyd kept the pace slow. Maidana did hit him with that big shot in the third. It was a good win. I agree with you, Mike, I’m not sure why so many people were (crapping) on Floyd afterwards (critiquing his performance). Maidana won like one round, what should Floyd have done? Maidana fought the wrong fight. Technically, he was sound, but he didn’t do enough.” (Note, I have called Robert Garcia too many times to get his take on Chino’s showing. I will type a story if and when he chooses to call back.)
And, did the New Yorker see anything that he’ll tuck away for that hoped-for later? “Floyd kind of does the same stuff to perfection by now,” Algieri says. “He’s similar to Pacquiao, in that he’s mastered what he does. Could we have a better plan (than Maidana) against Mayweather? Absolutely.”
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— Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank