Chris Algieri In The Welterweight Wheel of Fortune

Chris Algieri is different. He doesnt come from a lineage of boxing champions like Floyd Mayweather, Jr. He doesnt have a tragic rags-to-riches story like Manny Pacquiao. He doesnt have a father-trainer dynamic like Shawn Porter. To simply look at him, hes seems like just your average guy.

Except he’s far from average. The former undefeated kickboxing champion and Stonybrook University alumnus turned former champion boxer has the resume of a seasoned pro and the wherewithal to back it up.

With the welterweight division losing the sports two marquee attractions in Mayweather and Pacquiao to retirement, the division is in search of its new banner man. Algieri’s latest fight takes place this Saturday on Spike TV, where he’ll go up against up-and-coming 2012 Olympian Errol Spence, Jr. where his experience will meet up with the youthful expectations of the highly touted prospect.

You know my pressure has always been my own pressure, whatever I put on my own belt, said a confident Algieri. I definitely feel like theres more pressure on Spence, Jr. going into this fight. Hes got a lot to live up to, and hes never had what he got going into this fight.

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(Photo Credit: Ed Diller / DiBella Entertainment / Premier Boxing Champions)

In a pro career spanning 23 fights and eight years, Algieri has scored championship wins over the likes of Ruslan Provodnikov, whom he won the WBO welterweight title from, and his only two losses are from Manny Pacquiao and a controversial unanimous decision loss to Amir Khan.

Honestly, I still feel I won that fight,” said Algieri, referring to the Khan fight. “It was a close fight for sure, but I think that I dictated the pace and in terms of how a boxing match is scored, ring generalship is an important part of scoring. The fight was fought the way I wanted it to be fought. And not only that, but I was successful and doing damage, controlling the pace, being busy and landing the cleaner more effective shots. So I still honestly feel like I won that fight, but it is what it is.

That fight mirrored, to many, the outcome when Lamont Peterson fought and lost to Danny Garcia. It raises the question about judging for strategist boxers like Algieri, who have been on the wrong end of dodgy decisions.

Boxing is an extremely technical and defined sport,” said Algieri. “You have to really look beyond two guys punching each other in the face. It’s really a chess match out there. Its the fastest chess match in the world and it’s done at super high speeds with guys who are punching each other in the face. But at the same time theres a lot of strategy involved.

You bring up that Lamont Peterson fight, his strategy was obviously to be defensive and evade early, use his footwork, use his defense and then to come on late,” he continued. “But the way matches are scored, I can see how the fight could have gone in a different way because you have to score each round. But overall, the strategy and the ring general was certainly Lamont Peterson that night.

Since the Khan loss, Algieri has gotten back on the winning track defeating by Erick Bone last December at the Barclays Center where, he has already showcased his flair for battling through all odds. Although the Ecuadorian Bone has an obscure South American boxing record, Algieri cautions anyone that felt the unanimous decision victory was a gimme fight.

That was certainly not a tune-up,” Algieri said. “Erick Bone is a hell of a fighter and I had actually trained with him prior to the fight, which made it difficult preparing for him since we had shared the ring together sparring. But at the same time, I knew that he was in phenomenal shape. He was extremely hungry. He took that Shawn Porter fight on 30 hours notice and gave a hell of a fight.

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(Photo Credit: Ed Diller / DiBella Entertainment / Premier Boxing Champions)

Algieri returns to the Barclays Center for the fourth time to face Errol Spence, Jr., who cemented his right to headline after an 8th round TKO over South African Chris Van Heerden.

Honestly he really wasnt (on my radar,) but it doesnt really matter, said Algieri. Hes in my weight class, hes considered by the insiders of boxing to be a high-level guy. Ive never been a guy whos turned down a fight or turned down an opportunity. I dont understand fighters who do that. Were all in the same weight class, we got to fight, so the opportunity arose, so Im here.

With everything on the line for both fighters in the chase to be the next superstar welterweight, Algieri has been in this position before and is confident that Spence, Jr., has more to prove in boxings deepest division.

Hes got lot to gain but I mean hes got a lot to lose too,” said Algieri. “Hes got a lot of people behind him expecting big things in this fight, and moving forward. But Im here to try and take that shine. It puts me right in that position where hes supposedly going. You know its happened before with the Ruslan fight. He was supposed to get the Pacquiao fight. Me beating him got me in the position to fight Pacquiao. You know thats the great thing about boxing, you beat the man thats supposed to fight the man, you end up fighting the man. Thats why you got to take any opportunities that are out there.”

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