On June 14, Chris Algieri beat Ruslan Provodnikov to become the new WBO light welterweight champion. At the time, it was by and large a stunning upset – but not for Algieri (20-0, eight KOs).
“He was literally the most feared man in boxing – and maybe sports in general,” Algieri said on Ferrall on the Bench. “The opportunity arose, and I didn’t even blink at it. I had seen him fight a couple years earlier against Tim Bradley, which was the fight of the year, and I watched that fight and said to myself, ‘I can beat this guy. I can beat him right now.’”
Algieri, 30, had to wait a bit to make good on his prediction, but once he got the opportunity, he did.
Since then, he has gone from relative anonymity to being very much in the public eye. In fact, he is scheduled to fight Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) for the belt on Nov. 22, and his preparation for the fight is being filmed by HBO’s 24/7 series, which premiers Nov. 8.
“Life has definitely changed,” Algieri said. “Of the six workouts I have during the week, I would say four of them are probably filmed at this point. So having cameras around has kind of become the regular thing at the Algieri home and at the gym.”
Algieri is now in Las Vegas making his final preparations for the Pacquiao fight, which will take place at the Cotai Arena at the Venetian Macao in Macau, China.
“I’ll be out there a little under two weeks prior to the bout to get myself acclimated,” Algieri said. “We’ll get right to work as soon as we get out there.”
This championship fight will be extremely different from the one in June, as Algieri received little to no attention before that one and is now getting a ton of attention before this one. Still, Algieri maintains he is neither getting caught up in the limelight nor annoyed by it.
“It’s neither,” he said. “I’m in it. I’m super in it right now. I’m not getting lost in the lights of it. I’m not getting overwhelmed and being aggravated by it. I’m just really in it and focused on the task of hand, and really, I’m going out there to beat Manny Pacquiao and to beat a legend. That’s the only thing on my mind.”
When he isn’t training, Algieri, a Huntington, New York, native, also does charity with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “Those kids fight harder than I do every single day of their lives to just survive. It’s an incredible thing for me to try to give back any way that I can. I’m looking forward to getting more involved, and I want to take a trip down there myself and see those kids. It’s just truly inspiring to see and hear about these kids that are working so hard just to live and breathe. What I’m doing is nothing in comparison to what they’re going through every day.”