Chris Algieri Interview
We bring you Chris Algieri today live from his training camp at the Venetian Las Vegas and joining him today is his trainer Tim Lane and his promoter Joe DeGuardia. Chris Algieri is the undefeated champion and the only world champion representing New York right now and a renaissance man by any definition.. After sparring session on Wednesday, he will depart for Macau that evening. To tell us more about Chris and the promotion, here is Hall of Fame Promoter Bob Arum.
BOB ARUM: What do you mean he is the only champion that New York has? The Jets just beat the Steelers over the weekend! I’m glad to be on this call and we are all getting ready to go across the world to Macau and our hosts, The Venetian. Everybody is really looking forward to this event. It is building up tremendously. All of these great fighters leaving who will be participating on the card and we are thrilled to have Chris Algieri with us today because he has really stirred the pot. People are paying tremendous attention to this fight and I think everyone should watch “Under the Lights” this weekend on HBO because it is a true analysis of the fight. Tim Bradley did a great job with Virgil Hunter analyzing the fight so without further ado, I know Tim Lane is here and Joe DeGuardia, but I would like to now turn the call over to Chris Algieri.
CHRIS ALGIERI: Thank you, Bob. I am glad to be here and it’s great to be involved with this promotion and have the opportunity for this fight.
Before we get started I would just like to take a moment to pay tribute to the real warriors that are out there on this Veterans Day and give them the honor and tribute that they deserve for going above and beyond in fighting for our country and our freedom.
With that being said, I am happy to be here and training camp has gone fantastic and it has been a tremendous lead-up going into fight week and Team Algieri is very excited about our trip to Macau. All of our work is done here and now we are ready to travel across the world and shock the world.
TIM LANE: Thanks to everyone for joining in and thanks to Top Rank and Star Boxing for allowing us to be in a show like this. Training has been wonderful. Chris is in shape. He is mentally and physically ready to go and we are ready for our road trip.
JOE DeGUARDIA: It is a pleasure to be on this call. So much has been said about Chris already. He has been a great ambassador for the sport. I am proud of our relationship and it has been a great promotion going from Stony Brook to Wall Street to Shangahi and Macau. It’s going to be a great fight and we are looking forward to taking on Manny Pacquiao on November 22nd. .
BOB ARUM: You forgot to mention Joe that because we stopped at AT&T Park in San Francisco a lot of people are crediting Manny and Chris for bringing good luck to the San Francisco Giants, who went from Wild Card to World Champions.
How is Chris handling the pressure?
TIM LANE: Chris has been handling the pressure like there is no pressure. There is a lot of relaxation and meditation and ice baths after workouts. This is the Chris Algieri Show, like I said before, this is what he had visualized for years and now he has the situation the way he has always dreamt about having it. This is a dream come true so there is no pressure. There is great energy and Chris is feeding off all of it and he is stronger than ever.
Is Medical School still in your future?
CHRIS ALGIERI: Medical School is the next step in my career. 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.
Where do you wish to go to Medical School?
CHRIS ALGIERI: I had always planned to go to a New York institution because I love New York and had a great experience in college back on Long Island. Stony Brook is my Alma Mater from undergrad and they have a fantastic, competitive medical school and that would be a great place to look into. But there are other great schools in New York and we’ll see what’s available when the time comes. In terms of what I want to study, I have a lot of friends that have gone through the process and often times you don’t know what your expertise will be until you go through your rotations to experience it first-hand. My background is health and fitness and cardiovascular interests me. A lot of the issues we are having in the country right now are directly related to a lack of good fitness and nutrition and since I have a background in that already it does make logical sense. There is also Sports Medicine, so we’ll see. There are a lot of options when it comes to medicine and health care.
Since Manny is in the Philippines and you are in the USA, how has it been for you to carry this entire promotion?
CHRIS ALGIERI: 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 and I believe that has helped out whole team step up to perform that much better.
Do you feel as though you are being taken advantage of because you are here doing all of the interviews and Pacquiao is all by himself?
CHRIS ALGIERI: See, this is actually the first time I am fighting when I am not working as well. I have been a full-time boxer for this camp, so all of this other stuff I have been doing is kind of in par with stuff I have been doing anyway. I am a guy that does a million other things in addition to boxing. I have a lot of other stuff that I have been into my entire career and I have put all of that on hold now I am doing more stuff involving the actual promotion of the fight like doing interviews and making appearances. So for me I am no busier than I have ever been – I have always been a busy guy.
If Chris Algieri wins, what do you think that does for the sport?
CHRIS ALGIERI: I would hope that it would attract a more mainstream audience and have a crossover appeal – 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.
When you hear a Freddie Roach talking smack, do you feel a need to go back at him or just sit quietly by?
CHRIS ALGIERI: 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. It is what it is. If he wants to say that, that’s fine by me. What matters is fight night and myself and Pacquiao.
If Algieri beats Pacquiao, is he in line to fight Mayweather?
BOB ARUM: How can I talk for Mayweather? As far as the Pacquiao fight is concerned with Mayweather, as much as a lot of people surrounding it would want it to happen, myself included and Manny included, Floyd is reluctant to fight Manny Pacquiao, period. If people don’t see that by now, they are never going to see it. In as far as if Chris Algieri wins the fight against Manny Pacquiao, then there is a provision in the contract for a rematch. If he beats Pacquiao then beats Manny in a rematch and Floyd wants to fight him, that’s not my business – that’s up to Joe DeGuardia and it’s up to the Mayweather camp.
How do you feel about putting Long Island back on the map? This is the most anyone has talked about boxing on Long Island in a very long time – since Buddy McGirt was champion.
CHRIS ALGIERI: Boxing on Long Island – there is history there. It’s been a while since Buddy McGirt and Gerry Cooney, but you know, we are in kind of a resurgence now. We are putting our show there constantly – Star Boxing shows at the Paramount have drawn big crowds over the years and there is a lot of up and coming talent there now. You see more and more gyms with competitive professional fighters. It’s really come up and it’s great. When I was a kid, I did martial arts because boxing wasn’t really available on Long Island. I think now kids are able to begin boxing earlier. So it’s great and whatever can promote the sport on a whole is a good thing. And if we can do it on Long Island, where I am from, it’s a beautiful thing.
Do you ever it back and think ‘Wow, I can’t believe I got to this point in my career this quickly?’
CHRIS ALGIERI: It’s zero to one hundred and that is just the nature of the game. I told my mother a joke the other day and she said ‘Chris, it’s just the way you said it would happen.’ It’s nothing then boom! it is a full on sprint. It’s the nature of the business and I’m not surprised by it. I’ve been watching this sports for years and I have seen it with other fighters. I knew my time would come I just had to stay focused and disciplined and if you work hard good things happen. I am right where I am supposed to be.
How does preparing for Pacquiao differ from preparing for Provodnikov?
CHRIS ALGIERI: 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 and Manny’s they are 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. I have not been one of those champions that have been fed perfect guys to make me look great. I have had to fight every single style coming up on my way to get here I wasn’t fed anyone in any point of my career. I fought every style you could think of – righty, lefty, tall, short, power-puncher, fast guys, counter guys, so for me it is the norm – training for guys with different styles. Provodnikov has a totally different style than Manny Pacquiao and that’s what training camp is all about and that’s why I stay in shape year round, so I can work on strategy in camp instead of getting in shape.
Is your size an advantage?
CHRIS ALGIERI: It’s genetic. I’m tall for the weight class. I am built to go in and stand in front of the man and trade bombs – why would I do that? I’ve got length, I’ve got reach, I’ve got speed; I’ve got footwork and defense, but that’s not what’s going to be the difference in this fight. It’s not a tall guy versus a short guy – It’s Chris Algieri versus Manny Pacquiao. It’s what I bring to the table versus what he brings to the table. I think a lot of it has to do with my mental preparation and mind going into this fight as well as what we know from Manny. We know Manny is a living legend and a hall of famer for sure. He’s one of the greatest fighters that has ever lived. For me, I have to go out there and be myself. I have the talent and the tools to win this fight – I just have to go out there and perform.
How do you feel about the WBO wanting to take the belt away?
CHRIS ALGIERI: I am just focused on what’s in front of me. I really can’t worry about or complain about the WBO situation at this point. I am just focused on winning another WBO title on November 22nd. It’s one of those things that can’t matter to me. I’ve got other things to focus on and I’ve always been good at that. If it doesn’t make a difference right now, I can’t worry about it.
BOB ARUM: That decision from the WBO is now on hold. Paco [Valcarcel] will be over in Macau and you will be too. You can talk to him there. Obviously if Chris beats many all of this is moot, so a decision will be made after the fight. But you will have the opportunity to question Paco in Macau because I think he will be arriving on Tuesday or Wednesday of fight week.
How do you feel about Freddie trying to intimidate you with the comments he is making?
CHRIS ALGIERI: For one, he is wasting his time because I don’t even read those reports. So that’s the first thing. Secondly, I hear about them from other people around me and it doesn’t make a difference to me. 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.
Some would compare you to the San Francisco Giantsm with you both being the Wild Cards…
CHRIS ALGIERI: It’s not just this fight. It has been like that for many of my fights in my career, especially this year, and people seem to think I came out of nowhere. I was given an opportunity as a Wild Card and I ran with it and I think I’ve done that. So yes, I think that’s a fair association.
Do you think, since most of the fans will be Pacquiao backers, you will need a knockout to win?
CHRIS ALGIERI: No, I don’t think so. The judges are much closer to the action than the fans are. Fans sure can sway the way a fight looks. I am confident in the ability of the judges and if I do what I need to do and things go the way that we plan, we will come out with the victory regardless of the fan support.
BOB ARUM: Also, I wanted to say, you have to understand, if a fighter was fighting in America, and he was Mexican, would you say that the American judges would favor him because they come from the same continent? And the answer is ‘no.’ Manny Pacquiao is a Filipino and most of the people at the fight will be Chinese, whether they are from Hong Kong or mainland China. To think that someone would favor a Filipino over a US guy is to not understand the geo-political nature of different countries. The Chinese have as much affinity for a Filipino as they would an American, just as Americans would not necessarily favor a Mexican who is fighting over here. We can’t get into the narrow thinking that an Asian is an Asian. That’s silly – that just isn’t the case. Thai’s, Indonesians, Chinese, Filipinos – various groups and they are not always particularly friendly to each other.
Do you feel as though you are carrying the Argentinean torch?
CHRIS ALGIERI: It’s great to see part of my culture doing so well in the sport that I’m involved in, a sport that I have a passion for. I grew up hearing about a lot of Argentine fighters, the great Carlos Monzon and even the fighters on ESPN lime Omar Vaez; and now guys like Marcos Maidana and Sergio Martinez. More often you see Argentine fighters doing big things on a major stage. To be associated with those guys is really an honor and it’s great to see so many people from my culture do big things in the sport.
You drink the mate-tea made from the Argentinean yerba mate plant?
CHRIS ALGIERI: I drink mate every day during training camp, and just in general. It’s packed full of vitamins and nutrients and a lot of B vitamins that you would normally get from meat. The caffeine in there affects me less and it’s more like a stimulant. I can drink more of it and it’s hydrating as well. It’s one of my favorite drinks, especially on a cold morning. It gives me just enough of a pep after a workout. It helps also with fat loss and staying lean. It really is an overall incredible health drink and on top of it it’s part of the culture. It’s something my whole family and does and what we have always done. It’s warm and soothing for the belly and it helps you digest as well. I drink it all the way up until fight day. It’s a part of my routine.
CHRIS ALGIERI: 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.
How does you medical / nutritional background help you in training?
CHRIS ALGIERI: If I can think of anything, but nothing specific that I have learned, is the time management and discipline and stay focused. Mentally focused to be aware. Our training sessions are mentally packed. We work on very specific game plans and strategies. So I have been dealing with those types of complicated things and my scholastic background, so I think that helps me – my nutrition and my understanding of the human body, and the processes for recovery and proper dietary restrictions.
CHRIS ALGIERI: Stony Brook is a great school scholastically and I enjoyed my time there. It taught me a lot about life and about the future that I am living now. It is an honor to have graduated from there and to be recognized as an alumnus.
Coach Tony Walters?
CHRIS ALGIERI: Tony was one of the first international world-class athlete I had ever dealt with and I was lucky enough to have him as a coach and he taught me a lot about the mental aspects of training and competition. It was great to be around him – he was like a father figure to me especially in my athletic background. That is a person I will never forget and share in all of my victories since I left there until I am done.
What type of work did you do recently?
CHRIS ALGIERI: Well, I was a full time student either at Stony Brook or NYU getting my masters degree. After I graduated with my masters I was working as a nutritionist and a personal trainer. So I have always had other business or other things going on while training for a fight.
Were you training people prior to the Provodnikov fight?
CHRIS ALGIERI: I was training people on Tuesday of fight week.
Did they get in shape when you trained them?
CHRIS ALGIERI: Absolutely, I had some very fit people. I worked with a lot of athletes helping them, especially combat athletes, MMA fighters, Bermudez, Weidman, and guys on the lower levels – boxers and MMA fighters. Then also moms, middle aged mothers that want to get back in shape after pregnancy or just being home and not training. I had a very varied client list.
You’ve never been in a big fight such as this, so do you think you are doing the right things to be mentally prepared? Guys have always said they know they are ready then they get in the ring and they realize they are not ready. Why do you think you will be different?
CHRIS ALGIERI: I guess you won’t know until November 22nd. But that being said, there are tell tales on the way up. At press conferences, and everything leading up to this fight has been kind of like a dress rehearsal for the big show. All the attention and being under a microscope for the past five months I think has prepared me well. But like you said, I guess we won’t know until that night.
Do you try to entertain as you box?
CHRIS ALGIERI: 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.
Would you compare your style to Floyd Mayweather?
CHRIS ALGIERI: 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.
CHRIS ALGIERI: 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.
When you had the competition with Manny on the press tour, what did you play?
CHRIS ALGIERI: We played pool, we bowled then we had batting practice then we went to ESPN Deportes they had a basketball shooting game Pop-a-Shot.
Did you win all the games?
CHRIS ALGIERI: I did, yes.
BOB ARUM: I just want to say that this has been a fantastic conference call. The promotion is really interesting. You have promotions where guys just trash-talk each other and that to me is boring. This has been a very intelligent kind of promotion with both fighters. I think everybody should watch on Saturday night, HBO’s “Under The Lights” because the different styles of the fighters are discussed extraordinarily intelligently by Max Kellerman, Tim Bradley and Virgil Hunter. It’s a program that I recommend that everybody watch because a lot of questions that you have just might be answered by watching that program.
BOB ARUM: I want to say something else…this promotion and this event has been like a real-life Rocky story. Now we know that Rocky came from the streets of Philadelphia and was uneducated, and we have a Rocky here that is highly educated and very articulate, but this is truly a Rocky story nevertheless. If I had scripted this and sent the script in to HBO, it would have been rejected because of being unrealistic. But here we are; it’s real, it’s real life, and Chris Algieri is the modern day Rocky. And this should be a tremendous event and fight on November 22nd and I want to thank everybody for participating in this conference call.
CHRIS ALGIERI: Thanks for all of the kind words. This has been a tremendous promotion and I have enjoyed every moment of it. I hope I was able to answer your questions today, and I will see you all on the other side of the world when it’s fight week. Team Algieri is very excited and very much looking forward to this fight. We are done with the hard work and we are ready to rock.
* * Chris will be sparring on Wednesday then heading to the LAX to depart for Macau.
Promoted by Top Rank® and Sands China Ltd., in association with MP Promotions, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, Banner Promotions and Tecate, the Pacquiao-Algieri world welterweight championship event will take place Saturday, November 22, at The Venetian® Macao’s Cotai Arena, and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.
An all-new special “Under the Lights: Pacquiao-Algieri” debuts This Saturday! November 15 at 11:45 p.m. (ET/PT) on HBO.
Replays of “24/7 Pacquiao/Algieri,” will air on HBO during the following days and times: November 13 (2:30 p.m.), 18 (8:45 a.m.), 19 (6:00 p.m.), 21 (1:00 p.m. & 3:00 a.m.), and 22 (9:45 a.m.). It is also available on the HBO On Demand® service, HBO GO® and at www.hbo.com/boxing.
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