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Does Algieri slay the Dragon?

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By Allan Scotto


When Joe DeGuardia, the President and CEO of Star Boxing signed Chris Algieri to meet Ruslan Providnikov in the ring at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York on June 14th, 2014, many people wondered what Algieri had done to make DeGuardia so angry.

 

Algieri was relatively unknown, and most people gave him absolutely no chance to beat Providnikov, known as “The Siberian Rocky.”

 

And even though Algieri was undefeated, he was not considered an elite fighter, having fought many of his fights in his home town of Huntington, New York. Most people saw Chris Algieri as a good boxer with “soft” hands, who would never be able to keep the ever swarming Providnikov off of him.


You would have been hard pressed to find someone who gave Algieri even the slightest chance to win, unless of course you were talking to Chris Algieri.

 

Algieri, who has had no amateur experience, retired as an undefeated kickboxing Champion who went immediately into boxing, and his combined record in both sports, is an astounding 40-0, but in the boxing world, he was 18-0 and his kickboxing career was not a consideration to many.

 

But, be that as it may, this was the shot Algieri was waiting for and, for $250,000, not a large amount of money for a title fight, Algieri agreed to fight “the beast,” a term often used to describe Providnikov.

 

And on the night of June 14th, it looked like Algieri was about to prove all his critics correct in a hurry.

 

In the first round Providnikov backed Algieri up to the ropes almost immediately and floored him with a left hook. The shot was so hard that not only did Algieri end up in a somersault that landed him back on his feet, but his eye swelled to the size of a golf ball by the time he got up.

 

As Algieri pawed at his eye, the look on his face told you that he had probably never been hit that hard in his life. “The Pride of Huntington,” as Algieri is known, was in deep, deep water.

 

After taking a long look at Algieri, referee Harvey Dock allowed the fight to continue and Providnikov once again, pounced on Algieri.

 

It was at that moment that Algieri made a very wise decision. Rather than run the risk of Harvey Dock stepping in and stopping the fight, Algieri took a knee and an eight count.

 

Doing that stopped the onslaught and gave Chris a chance to gather himself and re-focus, but it also put him behind 10-7 in the first round.

 

From the start of the second round, Algieri, using his tremendous boxing skills, was able to frustrate Providnikov and slowly began to pull ahead on two of the three scorecards and at the end of the fight, Algieri was awarded a split decision and the WBO Light Welterweight title.

 

His life would never be the same.

 

Since winning the belt, Algieri has been extremely busy, serving as the Grand Marshall in a parade in his home town, television interviews, charity events, and sponsorship deals, one of them with Nike, and a whirlwind promotional tour.

 

Oh yeah, he also signed to fight Manny Pacquiao on November 22nd, at the Cotai Arena in Macao, China.

 

Once again, not many people think that Algieri can beat a fighter of Pacquiao’s stature, but in truth, he’s got a lot more believers since his victory over Providnikov.

 

Algieri is a no nonsense kind of man when it comes to training and staying in shape. He has a Master’s Degree in nutrition, so he knows what he’s doing in and out of the ring. He makes sure that he gets in his training regimen regardless of what else is going on. In fact, while waiting for a television interview recently, Algieri spent that time working the mitts.

 

He’s also very good for the sport of boxing. He’s got movie star good looks and has attracted many female fans who have begun showing up at his press conferences carrying signs, waiting for autographs and shouting their support.

 

And although Algieri is thoroughly enjoying his new found fame, which he has earned the right to, he is totally focused on his fight with the “Pac-Man.”

 

Algieri is rumored to be getting one and a half million dollars to fight Pacquiao and Algieri is smart enough to know that if he pulls off another upset his next pay day will be much bigger than that.

 

But that’s a big “if.” Manny Pacquiao is one tough cookie, and he has been in the ring with many great fighters, so the experience factor has to go to Manny.

 

But, he also suffered an absolutely devastating knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez. And it was the kind of knockout that many fighters never really get past. Anyone who saw it knows how frightening it was just to watch it. One can only imagine what it feels like to get hit that hard.

 

Many people feel that the effects of that knockout showed in Manny’s next two bouts with Timothy Bradley and Brandon Rios.

 

Although Manny beat Bradley, some people feel that he did not look as good against Bradley as he did in their first fight when C.J. Ross and Duane Ford decided to play Santa Claus. Some folks think there were other motivations, but that’s another article.

 

In his fight with Rios, Manny beat him soundly, but Rios really was no match for Pacquiao and the talk was that an earlier version of Manny would have gotten Rios out of there.

 

So, if there are chinks in Pacquiao’s armor, does Algieri have what it take to exploit them?

 

You have to give Manny the edge in power, but Algieri is a masterful boxer, and Pacquiao does struggle with boxers. Algieri is also very quick on his feet, so keeping him on the ropes is going to be very tough and Manny will need to stop Chris’ movement to be able to utilize his advantage in power.

 

And there are two other factors that may come into play. Algieri has a three and a half inch height advantage and a five inch reach advantage over Pacquiao.

 

What that equates to is that Manny will have to work Algieri’s body to accomplish two things. One, it will slow Algieri down and two it will cause Algieri to bend forward to protect his body, which will negate the height advantage bringing Algieri’s head within striking distance.

 

But that will also put Manny at risk in light of Algieri’s reach advantage. With a five inch reach advantage, Algieri will be hitting Pacquiao while Manny is still five inches away. That’s a lot of distance, plus Manny, a southpaw, always leans in with his face after he jabs. That’s how Marquez dropped him, he timed that and waited.

 

They say when a fighter becomes the Champ it makes him that much harder to beat. For instance, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler became almost indestructible after he became the Middleweight Champion of the world. It gives the fighter a certain confidence that they didn’t have before.

 

So, let the naysayers say what they will, but logically, this shapes up into a very interesting match-up.

 

And there is also one other very strong motivating factor.

If Algieri pulls off another upset and defeats Pacquiao, odds are that he will undoubtedly get the next shot at one, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

 

And that boys and girls would be worth a small fortune to Christopher Mark Algieri.

 

 

Allan Scotto can be reached at: boxingriter@aol.com



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