Undefeated WBO light welterweight champion Chris Algieri has had a great 2014. He started the year in February with an impressive boxing display against tough contender Emmanuel Taylor, winning by unanimous decision, and then followed that performance up with a gusty and somewhat controversial win over then champion, Ruslan Provodnikov. On November 22nd, Algieri will get a shot at boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, and a victory there could make Algieri a serious contender for fighter of the year.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Chris Algieri, I discuss with him the upcoming fight with Pacquiao and how he feels about the opportunity he has been given. Algieri also gave his thoughts on the perception that he does not deserve the bout due to the controversy of the Provodnikov bout. Additionally, I talk to Chris about the possibility of retiring Manny Pacquiao if he is able to beat him definitively. Here is what Chris Algieri had to say.
Jenna J: Chris it’s a pleasure to have you “On the Ropes” I think we should start things right with your fight that you have coming up on November 22nd, you will be facing Manny Pacquiao. How do you feel about getting this opportunity?
Chris Algieri: I feel blessed, I mean this is a great opportunity. I’m very excited to start training camp, and it’s definitely an honor to fight a future Hall of Famer like Manny. Yeah I’m just looking forward to the whole experience, the whole ride.
Jenna J: Right after you beat Ruslan Provodnikov, could you have ever imagined that you would have been next in line and gotten this chance here?
Chris Algieri: Yeah I was, because Bob Arum said that it was going to happen before the Ruslan fight. He predicted that I was gonna beat Ruslan and that the fight that he wanted to make was Manny Pacquiao and Chris Algieri, so it wasn’t that much of a surprise, because the writing was on the wall.
Jenna J: When you listen to the fans out there, some people are little bit against this fight. They look at the Ruslan Provodnikov fight saying that it was a little controversial. How do you respond to the fans out there saying that you aren’t deserving of this opportunity?
Chris Algieri: Those guys, they don’t know me, that’s all. As this press tour continues and my training camp revs up and people are following and seeing what I do, they’ll understand that I belong here and that I earned this opportunity. I don’t really give too much credence to that.
Jenna J: The fight is still a long way off, November 22nd is a long way away. How do you plan to buy the time to getting to that big fight?
Chris Algieri: You know, right now people are asking all the time — because they see me in the gym already and they’re thinking that I’m starting too early or that I’m worried about over training, but this how I am. This is what I mean, people don’t know — they don’t know about me — they don’t know that I train 365 days a year.
I train all year around and I stay fit in between fights and for me training camp is to get better and not to get in shape or make weight. I’m just saying fit at this time and handling all the media and the press involved with the build up to this fight, and really trying to reach many fans as possible, so people can get to know me and what I bring to the ring.
Jenna J: Besides what you bring to the ring, I’m curious what your thoughts are on Manny Pacquiao. What do you think he brings to the ring against you?
Chris Algieri: Manny is, like I said, he’s a future Hall of Famer and he’s an incredible champion. The guy, I don’t think there’s anyone else out there quite like him in terms of his resume and what he’s been able to accomplish. He’s gonna come and he’s gonna be Manny Pacquiao.
He’s gonna be the star that he is and he’s going to be 100% prepared with great experience. You know his style is to stalk, he’s been a pro for so long and this is the way he fights and we all know it, and we’ve all seen it, I have too, I’m a fan myself. So I get to go out there and be the best version of myself and I think that version will beat Manny Pacquiao.
Jenna J: When you look at Manny’s last few fights, people have said he is not taking the risks he used too, ever since the fight he lost with Juan Manuel Marquez. Do you see that?
Chris Algieri: I’m not sure if that’s the case. I think it could just be because of the opponents that he was fighting and the style that he had to utilize in order to win. I’m preparing for the best Manny Pacquiao that can be. I’m not thinking about an older or a shop worn Manny. Like I said, I’m preparing for the best.
Jenna J: In the last few fights, every time Manny Pacquiao goes into the ring, people that are involved with him are saying that if Manny loses one more time, they will advise him to hang it up. Chris, if you were the man to beat him in his final fight and he retires, how would that make you feel?
Chris Algieri: I don’t want think too much about other peoples’ career. I’m not too concerned about what my opponents’ careers look like after fights with myself. I’m just really concerned about myself and my forward and upward trajectory. But if that happens, I think that’s a natural progression in the sport. The up and comers often knock off the former champion, that’s just the way this sport goes.