By Andrew Wroblewski
A little more than two weeks after Greenlawn’s championship-winning boxer, Chris Algieri, fell to World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title holder Manny Pacquiao in China, the 30-year-old has returned to Huntington.
“It’s been great coming home since I’d been away for about two months, so coming back right in holiday time to spend time with my family has been an awesome homecoming,” Algieri said. “I’ve had a very positive response from my friends, family and fans. Normally I go on vacation after a fight, but this time I’m going to stay home and then probably take a vacation in the second half of December to find some warm weather.”
While the St. Anthony’s High School graduate has been enjoying his relaxation time, there is a major controversy that’s undoubtedly been causing the champ some stress. Algieri and his team at Star Boxing, his promoter, are in the midst of a battle with the WBO, which is trying to strip him of the junior welterweight title he won in June.
The WBO, which operates out of Puerto Rico, attempted to strip Algieri of the title prior to the fight on Nov. 22. The decision was put on hold, but the WBO has once again threatened to follow through with it, Joe DeGuardia, founder and CEO of Star Boxing, said.
“Right now their intent is to strip Chris, and we’ve protested that right from the get-go,” DeGuardia said. “We’re battling it, we put in our grievances and now they have 10 days [from Nov. 28] to respond. If not, then we’ll take it to court.”
For now, DeGuardia and Algieri can’t do much but sit and wait for the WBO’s response.
Titles aside, DeGuardia is “extremely proud” of Algieri and what he’s accomplished in 2014. Other than the misstep against Pacquiao, Algieri was able to produce two major victories – one in Huntington against Emmanuel Taylor and the other against Ruslan Provodnikov in Brooklyn – both of which have increased the boxer’s name recognition significantly.
“Chris has shown that he is a talented and conditioned fighter… He gained a tremendous amount of experience this year and [the fight against Pacquiao] is the kind of thing you can really learn from.” DeGuardia said.
Algieri echoed this sentiment. From the second the fight ended, he’s maintained that the entire experience was one he hopes to learn from as he ventures forth with his boxing career.
“Every step of the way has been a learning experience,” Algieri said. “I will be back there again. I don’t feel like I was in over my head, that he was too fast or too strong. It was a factor of experience and a factor of me not fighting the best style of fight that night.”
Algieri said he was trying to stick to the game plan during the fight against Pacquiao, which he lost on unanimous decision after 12 rounds. Algieri said he regretted not adapting to the flow of the fight and not doing the things he’s known for – being a quick, intelligent boxer with a tactical left jab.
“I take it on myself,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m the man in the ring.”
Following his first loss as a professional boxer, Algieri (20-1, eight KOs) is hoping to “get right back into the win column” in early 2015. He hopes to schedule a fight as early as February or March.
“I don’t want to sit on a loss,” he said. “I want to get right back in the game. I’m really motivated… I’ve been back in the gym all week. I’m very healthy after the fight and I feel great.”
On Monday, Algieri said he’d be sitting down with his team members to discuss exactly what’s next in 2015. Whether it will be a title defense fight of the WBO junior welterweight title or not, that’s still up in the air.