MACAU: Champion boxer Chris Algieri who was also a two-division, undefeated world kickboxing champion is a personification of brain and brawn.
His father Dominic, a supervisor for more than 30 years in the Town of Huntington highway department, and his mother Adriana, a woman who valued education more than anything, raised Algieri in Long Island, New York. Algieri has an older brother Michael, a former insurance auditor who is now a New York City policeman. His mother still works as a unit secretary at the Huntington Hospital emergency room.
After trying out baseball, basketball, and swimming, Algieri got hooked in karate at a young age. He said that when his parents dropped him off at instructor Robert Mauro’s U.S. Karate Academy in Huntington, he realized that he loved everything about the sport.
“I had to internalize a lot of things, focus on my inner self and be disciplined. I liked the physical contact when we sparred. I wanted to hit people hard and be in fights. I was just always that way,” Algieri said.
“Chris had the discipline to do what it took to become great, and almost everybody doesn’t. He was a rare one. You didn’t have to ride him. You just sent him in the right direction, and he would keep going until you told him to stop,” Mauro said.
His brother Michael, who was five years older used to beat him “any chance he got” when they were little but they are the best of friends now.
Algieri recalled that his mother and grandfather who originally wanted him to become a doctor both wondered why he’s so fascinated with combat. But it was through his grandfather that he was first exposed to boxing. Though he always told him not to be a boxer, he and the old man used to watch all the boxing fights on television. In broken English, he would tell Chris about all the big-time boxers, the history of the sport and the big fights.
“It was always a boxing kind of house in that respect, but education was No. 1,” his mother Adriana recalled.
When Algieri decided to box professionally, his mother advised him to balance the physical stuff with education and earn his Master’s Degree. He didn’t argue and got his Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York Institute of Technology. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences.
Boxing Coach Keith Trimble said that it is Chris’ mental attitude that sets him apart.
“He’s so mentally tough that you can’t frustrate him, you can’t get in his head, you can’t psych him out,” he said.
Algieri was initially frustrated with the seemingly slow progress of his boxing career. He even attempted to manage and finance his own career in Las Vegas in 2010 and California in 2012 but failed on both occasions. In 2011, Algieri signed with New York promoter Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing and fought the first of his early eight bouts at the Paramount Theater in Huntington.
But Algieri was not satisfied with the result and threatened to quit boxing. So DeGuardia booked him an ESPN fight against Emanuel Taylor (17-1, with 12 knockouts). Algieri was scared but with Tim Lane and Trimble training him, he got a unanimous decision victory that earned him the right to fight Ruslan Provodnikov.
Algieri did well in his fight against Provodnikov save for a shut and swollen right eye. That victory got him the chance to face eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao on November 22 at the Cotai Arena in Macau.
Algieri will face the 35-year-old Pacquiao with a plan that he believes he can execute precisely.