Junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri is having a good year. In February he defeated Emanuel Taylor to set up a title fight against Ruslan Provodnikov four months later. After being down twice in the first round, Algieri rallied to defeat Provodnikov by split decision and win the title.
Algieri (28-0, 8 KOs), who was a heavy underdog before the fight with Provodnikov, credited his conditioning to being a nutritionist and taking care of his body.
On Nov. 22, in the biggest fight of his career, Algieri will face welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao in Macau, China (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET). Pacquiao has won two fights in a row since losing consecutive fights in 2012 for the first time in his career -- a split decision against Timothy Bradley Jr. and a sixth-round KO to Juan Manuel Marquez.
In his own words, Algieri talks about the advantages of having the perfect diet, exercising and preparing for a 12-round fight against one of the best fighters in the world.
Which one of your victories taught you the most about overcoming obstacles inside the ring?
“My 10th pro bout against Julius Edmonds. I went into the fight with a sore right hand and then broke my left hand in the 2nd round. Finding a way to win has always been a major part of my style and strategy. I didn’t even tell my coaches I was injured until after the fight. I finished the fight with a 4th round KO and that truly was one of the biggest obstacles if not the biggest I have ever had to overcome.
“And let’s not forget in my most previous fight against Ruslan Provodnikov. I made a mistake in the first round and I paid for it. I was forced to pay the price and fight the remainder of the fight with a badly swollen eye. But, I still found a way to win. Sticking to the game plan, and staying focused in times of adversity, that’s what separates me from other fighters. My mental make-up and my mental strength has always been the difference in my fights, and that is what will propel me once again to victory on November 22nd.”
What is it about your opponent’s style that makes it so difficult? Is your kickboxing knowledge an advantage? Leg movements is very important when you have to fight against an opponent like Manny Pacquiao.
“It is not so much Manny’s style but his experience level that makes him such a dangerous opponent. He has had over 60 pro fights and been fighting for a very long time against the top fighters in the world. It is going to be my job to test how bad he actually still wants this.
“My kickboxing experience is an advantage not so much my knowledge of the sport. It is another one-on-one sport, the training and preparation is similar and at the end of the day you are in a fight. I have been fighting pretty much all my life.
“Yes Manny has great footwork. He is in and out and side to side, so being able to control the space in the ring is very important when fighting with someone with a style like Manny. Being a ring general is going to be a big part in this fight as it is with all my fights.”
What type of challenges come with preparing for a fight on another continent with a much different start time? What’s at stake for the winner inside the welterweight division? What are your goals for the future in boxing?
“It just means you have to do a lot more time management in terms of scheduling and thinking ahead. You can’t just wing it, but I don’t do that with any part of my training anyways, so it is of no concern to me. Also we will be fighting at noon over there, and that is exactly what time I always spar, so that will actually be better for me. I am a morning person so being able to fight during the day will actually play in my favor.
“This is the top of the sport. The winner here goes on to make the biggest fights that are possible not only the welterweight division but in all of boxing. A win will propel me into the top of the pound-for-pound ratings and viewed as one of the best fighters in all of boxing.
“At this point I want the biggest fights out there. I have spent a long time fighting off TV and outside of the public eye. Now I want that exposure and I want to fight the biggest names out there in boxing. I want to show that I belong here. It has taken me a long time to get to this point, and I don't plan on leaving now that I am here.”
Does being a nutritionist give you an advantage on how to prepare your body for a 12-round fight and 12 weeks of training? Describe your diet, exercising habits and hours of sleep.
“I average between eight to nine hours of sleep a night/day between naps. I generally eat between five to seven times a day, around 3,500 calories during training camp. I eat lots of fresh fruits and colorful veggies to help with recovery.
“I also eat a lot of complex grains and no processed foods. I prepare and cook about 90 percent of my own food and meals.
“I train six days a week. Most days I train twice a day. I do strength and conditioning twice a week, cardio four times a week and boxing five days a week. With my cardio I do more sprint work than distance work, but I alternate between the two.
“I also get weekly massages for recovery once a week and take an ice bath after every sparring session, which is not fun, but it is necessary.
“I take a very scientific and calculated approach to everything I do when in training leading up to the fight and in the ring on fight night. Manny said that I will be the most conditioned and smartest fighter that he will ever face. He is right.”