Chris Algieri Interview: “I’m just going to go out there and do what I do and take that 0 away from him.”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Chris Algieri is the former WBO Jr. Welterweight champion of the world. He has been in the ring with former champions, such as, Ruslan Provodnikov, Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan. Algieri is a native Long Islander, who in addition to boxing, has received his bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University and his Master’s degree from the New York Institute of Technology. On April 16th, Algieri will take on the undefeated, rising prospect Errol Spence jr. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Chris was nice enough to take a moment away from his training to speak with us about his upcoming bout.
Boxing Insider: When you fought Provodnikov, you were billed as the “underdog” or the “sacrificial lamb”. Now with Spence jr. you are the “Gate Keeper” of the division. Why have the roles changed, and how do you feel about that?
Chris Algieri: What other people think about me is none of my damn business. I just go out there and do what I need to do. Prepare for the fight the best that I can. Go out there and look for ways to win. I don’t see myself as an underdog in this fight. I’m the veteran here, and he has a lot to prove. The pressure is on him, I’m just going to go out there and be myself.
Boxing Insider: Errol Spence is a former Olympian, Undefeated, touted as the next big thing. What do you have to do to beat him?
Algieri: I just have to show him things he hasn’t seen yet in the pro ranks. He hasn’t experienced a lot when it comes to professional fights that he’s been in. I understand about his Olympic pedigree and amateur background, but this ain’t the amateurs, it’s the pros. I have been in with a lot of real guys, with a lot of different styles at the highest levels. He can’t say the same. So it is going to be interesting to see how he reacts to this kind of pressure, especially when he realizes that it is all eyes on him. I’m just going to go out there and do what I do and take that 0 away from him.
Boxing Insider: After the Pacquiao fight you switched trainers (John David Jackson). So far you are 1-1. What has JDJ helped add to your boxing arsenal?
Algieri: You know John has such an incredible wealth of knowledge. Not only as a trainer, but as a fighter and as a former world champion. You take a certain degree of faith and respect for a guy that has been there himself. If he tells you to do something, you trust what he says. He’s been able to just really allow me to trust myself. When I first came into the gym he said he wasn’t going to teach me how to fight, because I know how to fight. He would critique certain things here and there, and bring out some things that are inside of me that the public hasn’t seen yet. I think we’ve shown that in my past couple of fights and we have so much more to show and to do in this upcoming fight and in the upcoming years.
Boxing Insider: Pre Ruslan you were strictly a stick and move boxer. Now you are starting to brawl more. Is that the new Chris Algieri that we should expect?
Algieri: People say that I was a strictly stick and move boxer, but those are people that didn’t see my early fights. They mostly only saw my later fights on the main stages, like the Pacquiao, Provodnikov or even the Taylor fight. I had 16 or 17 fights before that and showed many different looks. I’ve had fights where I’m very aggressive, I’ve had knockouts, numerous knockdowns. You really don’t know what I’m going to bring. I do know that Spence has never faced someone that’s put the kind of pressure that I’m going to put on him. He’s never faced someone that’s been in the condition I’m in. I really think the amount of pressure that I put on him will be very difficult for him to deal with.
Boxing Insider: Right now you are 32, you have your masters, and you have a plan for after boxing. How many fights do you think you have left in you, before you call it a career and move on to the next chapter?
Algieri: I’m leaving that up to how everything is going. I still wake up every day hungry to train, hungry to be a champion. The passion is still there. Like you said, I don’t have to do this. I come at this sport differently than the other athletes out there. I really love what I do still, and the sport of boxing is still in my heart and I am still able to perform at the highest level. Until that is not a possibility, you are still going to see me out there fighting.
Boxing Insider: This will be your 3rd appearance in association with Premier Boxing Champions. What are your takeaways from the new format?
Algieri: It puts a lot of power in the fighter’s hands. We are getting a lot more exposure, which I think is great. At the end of the day, people are paying to see the fighter’s fight, it’s not about managers and promoters, this and that. It’s about the guys in the ring, putting their lives on the line.