COMMISSIONER’S CORNER: The Big “E”—It Just Can’t Be Taught

Last year at this time, Chris Algieri was 18-0 and had just been given word that, on Valentine’s Day, around 11 weeks away, he’d be facing 17-1 Emmanuel Taylor in a scheduled 10-round bout to be shown on the NBC Sports Network. Taylor represented the toughest challenge to date Algieri had faced in his previous 18 fights, stretching back six years.

Algieri had come off an impressive stoppage of 14-12 Wilfredo Acuna back in September, as well as unanimous 10-round decisions against 10-1 Jose Alejo and 24-8-2 Mike Arnaoutis earlier in the year.

As soon as Star Boxing’s President, Joe DeGuardia and Matchmaker Ron Katz notified Algieri of the match, Algieri accepted. The fight would take place in the Paramount, a multipurpose nightclub in Algieri’s hometown of Huntington, New York. The Paramount is an old theatre, which promoters rent for the use of putting on plays, concerts, children’s events and boxing. For boxing, it can be configured to seat around 1,200. The Paramount closely resembles Philadelphia’s now gone Blue Horizon, which, for decades, played host to most of Philadelphia’s vast array of boxing talent, including Bennie Briscoe, Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, Tyrone Everett, Jeff Chandler, Johnny Carter, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart and Stanley “Kitten Hayward.

Through the holiday season and into 2014, Algieri worked out with his two hard-driving and dedicated trainers, Long Island’s Keith Trimble and former Long Islander-by-way-of-Virginia and now Las Vegas resident Tim Lane.

Lane is a former ISKA (Kickboxing) champion. He left competitive kickboxing and moved into boxing in 1996. He won three of his five pro fights between 1996-1998, being trained and managed by former world heavyweight kickboxing champ Derek Panza. Lane was a much more proficient fighter when he was using his legs.

Keith Trimble runs a successful Martial Arts Gym, the Bellmore Kickboxing Academy, on Long Island, and is highly-respected in that field.

As a former kickboxer who did quite well in that field (Algieri was not undefeated as publicized in the pre-fight buildup), the triumvirate of Algieri, Lane and Trimble moved into the world of professional boxing as Algieri’s love of the sport grew and as his passion for kickboxing waned. Together, they were licensed. Together, they trained.

Day in and day out it was Algieri with Trimble. When fight time approached, Lane flew in from his home in Las Vegas, where he moved several years ago. Together, from mainly small venues in and around Long Island, Team Algieri racked up win after win.

He fought at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn…The Huntington Hilton Hotel…The Plattdeutsche Restaurant in Franklin Square, Long Island…The Westbury Music Fair in Westbury, Long Island….At Madison Square Garden on an undercard which featured Yuri Gamboa v Rogers Mtagwa and Juan Manuel Lopez v Steve Luevano in the co-featured fights…and he fought at the Paramount in Huntington. He fought eight main events there.

Only two years ago, he was fighting guys whose records were 10-5-1, 7-4-1 and 10-5. He stopped one of them and decisioned the two others. He was becoming more and more of a smooth boxer. His conditioning was increasing with every outing. But he wasn’t learning to punch even a drop harder. Either he wasn’t being taught by Trimble and Lane or he wasn’t learning.

While Algieri was fighting his 7-4-1 guys, Manny Pacquiao was fighting Timothy Bradley (twice). He was fighting Brandon Rios. He was fighting Juan Manuel Marquez. Though only 2-2 in those four fights, the experience Pacquiao was adding to his future Hall-of-Fame resume was invaluable. He won. He lost. He learned.

Algieri was building and padding his record, but he wasn’t learning. My SiriusXM co-host, Gerry Cooney, who knows more than a little about power-punching and throwing body punches and turning over a thunderous left hook and snapping out a ramrod left jab, would say to me, “Algieri is just not learning enough. I don’t know if it’s his trainers or what it is, but he should be learning to punch harder and move his head more. He needs more than what he is getting.”

My late, great guru—Hall-of-Fame trainer/announcer Gil Clancy—used to say, “Nothing beats experience. If you want to be a good dancer, you need to have a good dance partner, someone who really knows what they are doing. If you are trying to become a better tennis player and continually play against lesser opponents, you’ll never get any better. The same thing holds for boxing. The better the opponents are, the better you’ll be, especially if you have boxing talent to begin with.”

Well, that upgrade to a higher opposition level came against Emmanuel Taylor. Algieri rose to the occasion against Taylor, winning by sores of 98-92 and 97-93 (twice).

Then came the big jump. Algieri fought last June 14 at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. His opponent was ultra-tough Ruslan Provodnikov. The “Russian Rocky” dropped Algieri twice in the first round, although the second knockdown was Algieri taking a knee to assess the damage the first knockdown did to his rapidly-swelling right eye.

Rising from the knockdown, Algieri finished the first round in a place he had never been before—behind by three points on each of the scorecards. He turned on his impressive foot-speed from that moment, and, showing heart and courage nobody knew he had, went on to take a disputed split decision against Provodnikov.

Off that victory, Algieri was offered a fight against Pacquiao and came to financial terms which would earn him around $1.5 million. For this camp, Algieri had everything. He had paid sparring partners. He had training like never before. There were two-a-days. There were three-a-days. HBO cameras were in his face wherever he went. He became an instant celebrity on Long Island…and in New York City…and in Los Angeles. They even loved him halfway around the world in Macao, China.

The training progressed and Algieri got in phenomenal shape. He used state-of-the-art machines to train on. He had hot tubs and ice baths. He had massages and strength coaches. His every step was recorded and monitored. So was his breathing and his heart rate. The plan was to turn Algieri into a fighting machine. His punch output was charted to be at an astounding 100+ per round.

Then the fight began. Algieri couldn’t find a rhythm. Pacquiao could. The taller, rangier, longer-armed Algieri could barely lay a meaningful punch on Pacquiao. Not so the other way around.

How could that be? Algieri had everything going into this fight. Or so he thought.

His corner had convinced him he was in better shape than Pacquiao. Algieri was told he had done everything humanly possible to win this fight.

He was told, over and over, that he has everything that Pacquiao has, and more.

On paper, he did have youth over Pacquiao. He did have height, he did have reach and he did have speed over the Filipino legend. Yes, he may have even had conditioning.

Yet, in reality, Algieri did not have everything. He lacked the one thing that Pacquiao has in abundance, the one thing no trainer or coach or fitness guru can give or teach.

Chris Algieri did not have experience.

He received it the hard way on Saturday night.

Photo Credit: Chris Farina

WATCH RELATED VIDEOS ON BOXINGCHANNEL.TV

COMMENTS

-stormcentre :

Good write up Randy. Nothing beats experience except youth. But even then it's only when; a) The experience's author is too old to meaningfully use all the experience. b) The youth's owner/author has enough experience to ensure his advantage works. Kovalev and Hopkins and several of James' Toney's recent fights may be examples. As will the upcoming Provodkinov V Castillo bout. :cool:


-brownsugar :

Great detailing Commish. Algieri has the cardio vascular part down pat... And he's young enough to improve.


-SouthPawFlo :

Very Well Written


-The Commish :

Very Well Written
Thanks, Lefty! -Randy G.


-Gabrielito :

The same goes for Algeiri's corner. Chris has some tough decisions to make.


-Radam G :

The same goes for Algeiri's corner. Chris has some tough decisions to make.
What are the tough decisions for Chris? Holla!


-The Commish :

What are the tough decisions for Chris? Holla!
Very true. If Chris is as smart as he is supposed to be, there is only one decision to make. That decision is: Who will my next trainer be? -Randy G.


-Gabrielito :

Quote Originally Posted by Radam G What are the tough decisions for Chris? Holla! Very true. If Chris is as smart as he is supposed to be, there is only one decision to make. That decision is: Who will my next trainer be? -Randy G. Nailed it Commish. The kid needs boxing people around him. Glass half full = he survived 12 rounds with the best fighter in the world (no worst than 2nd anyway) Glass half empty=had no idea of how to win.


-Gabrielito :

Slogans and pep talk ain't gonna cut it in the corner if he wants to continue at the championship level.


-Radam G :

Slogans and pep talk ain't gonna cut it in the corner if he wants to continue at the championship level.
You will be shocked. You will be wrong. C-Al better do it, or he will not last long. The right combo of words must be said to a pug "In the corner." You have to give the fighter an effective, correct thought, or he has lost every that he has sought. Boxing is a super-quick super-thinking sport. If you're thinking wrong -- "you are blowing it, son" -- you won't last long. If the "pep talk" in corner causes you to think quick, of the right combos, you will have your pick. As a boxer who was a rocket scientist said: "It ain't rocket science!" It is the sweet science, my friend. If you don't have the right fit, you won't be able to do or know that you can do the top syet. You just got to get the fit. Or you will never have or get what pugs call "Da IT!" And "Da IT" is the ignition to da powerful position to that proper thought that C-Al should've brought.
->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v-IMSKOtoE. Holla!


-mortcola :

Brilliant article, Commish. Gotta hand it to C-Al for taking the opportunity, and lord knows he worked hard in training. But the stuff he needed to not just win, but to put on a good show, be the fast-developing prodigy I and a lot of others thought he was, was replaced by grandiose illusions, slogans. He dd some good early defensive work, landed some clean leads.....and then I had this uh-oh feeling, even my wife who does not like boxing said it, Pac seemed merely annoyed. A guy stepping up that high that fast needs his punches to have some reality to them. Not just ego and a few slick moves. This is something that Radam makes clear in his own way. So, C-Al, good on ya mate for taking the chance, and for never quitting....but if you?re going to have a better legacy than this last fight, you need to prepare for true warriors who will have to worry about your weapons and what they can do. That?s what?s missing, along with the big E.


-BFF :

Great read randy G.


-The Commish :

Great read randy G.
Thanks, BFF. Thanks gang. -Randy G.


-Skibbz :

Nailed it Commish. The kid needs boxing people around him. Glass half full = he survived 12 rounds with the best fighter in the world (no worst than 2nd anyway) Glass half empty=had no idea of how to win.
Very well put, certainly a glass half full perspective from me. Also the difference between watching the fight with your head and your heart.