I sat next to a very nice young man in his mid-20s, who had come to cheer on a friend who was fighting on the card. As we got to talking, he told me he was in college studying to become a nutritionist and, ultimately, a doctor.
During our conversation, he also explained he was an undefeated kickboxing champion and that he was going to be turning pro as a boxer.
That young man was Chris Algieri.
I found Algieri to be a pretty fascinating guy, extremely bright, very focused and knew exactly where he was headed. So before we left, I gave him my contact information and asked him to let me know when he made the move to boxing.
I thought it would be interesting for our readers to experience a chronicle of a fighter’s career from its inception and watch how that fighter deals with winning, possibly losing and all the other variables that inadvertently find their way into a fighter’s life.
As he said he would, Algieri retired undefeated from kickboxing and made his professional boxing debut on April 3rd, 2008, defeating Ken Dunham by KO in round three of a four-rounder. It’s been nothing but “W”s for Algieri ever since.
A lot of the credit for this success has to be given to his handlers, who have moved him along at a nice clip, increasing his level of competition as he progressed and gained experience. At the same time, a lot of the credit also has to go to Algieri himself, who has a no-nonsense approach to his training.
Algieri is an extremely disciplined fighter. Between fights, he is just as serious about staying in shape as he is in while in training. He eats well, doesn’t drink or smoke and his weight does not fluctuate. And should you happen to be looking for him, try the gym first.
I remember when Algieri and I had first spoken, he told me his goal was to become the Light Welterweight Champion of the World and his last fight on February 23rd at the Paramount Theater in Huntington, New York, Algieri’s hometown, left little doubt that he is well on his way.
Broadcast live on NBC’ Sports Network’s “Fight Night,” it was Algieri’s first televised bout and his first exposure to a national audience - and a huge opportunity for Algieri.
It was also a big step up for Algieri, who entered the ring at 15-0 (7), to go a scheduled 10 rounds against the hard hitting Jose “Mangu” Peralta Alejo, who came in with a record of 10-1 (6).
Algieri started the first round constantly pumping his jab in Alejo’s face. “I didn’t care if it landed or not,” Algieri said, “I wanted Jose to know that it was going to be in his face all night.”
For Alejo, round one seemed to be more of a watch-and-see round as he sized up Algieri.
Algieri fought the second round much the same as the first but Alejo wasn’t having it, as he stepped it up and began moving forward on Algieri, applying a lot of pressure.
In round three, Alejo applied heavy pressure to the quick-footed Algieri and began to land some combinations. Algieri reacted by tying up Alejo and spinning himself back to the center of the ring.
In the fourth round, Algieri began opening up behind his ever present jab but Alejo continued to press forward, trying to cut the distance between himself and the ever-moving Algieri, bringing the fight to the trenches.
Still, Algieri seemed to be in control in the fourth until Alejo caught him with a thunderous left hook as Algieri skated along the ropes. The crowd rose to its feet as Algieri stopped dead in his tracks.
Sensing he had Algieri, Alejo moved in and began unloading a barrage of punches but Algieri tied him up and once again spun himself off the ropes and back to the center of the ring.
Round five was more of the same as Alejo continued moving forward and Algieri stayed on his toes as much as possible, frustrating Jose.
In round six, Alejo came out throwing heavy leather but Algieri began to take control by avoiding those big shots and countering with some very hard combinations.
In rounds seven and eight, it looked as if Alejo was running out of gas as Algieri began punishing him with long combinations from the outside.
In round nine, Algieri tattooed Alejo with sharp combinations and a blistering attack to the body, causing him to cover up as the round ended.
Algieri came out in the 10th round obviously looking to close the show as he threw a fight-high 135 punches, continuing his vicious attack to the body and keeping Alejo, who was looking for the big shot, at bay with crisp combinations.
It was a fabulous debut on the national scene for Algieri, who averaged 109 punches per round, winning by unanimous decision.
And the same can be said of Alejo. He may have lost but he left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is one tough character!
Moving to 16-0 (7), Algieri has taken a huge step closer to his dream of a title shot.
And based on his performance in this fight, it won’t be long now.
Please visit our Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.