by David P. Greisman
Chris Algieri will be facing a pressure fighter on Saturday night when he challenges Ruslan Provodnikov for a 140-pound world title. Provodnikov won’t be the first pressure fighter that Algieri’s stepped in the ring with — he also sparred with Brandon Rios, as well as with Marcos Maidana prior to Maidana’s wins over Josesito Lopez and Jesus Soto Karass.
“They’re both killer punchers, especially Maidana. I worked a lot of rounds with those guys, and they don’t stop coming forward ever,” Algieri told media members on June 7. “And Maidana is a fight. Every round with him sparring is a fight. You’re not in there playing patty-cakes. He’s looking to knock you out. He hits you with a shot, his eyes turn to dinner plates. He’s trying to finish you off, in sparring, every time. So being able to be with a guy like that, especially where he’s gone recently since I’ve worked with him, is a big confidence booster.”
Algieri said there wasn’t really any holding back in the sparring sessions with Maidana.
“I went out there and I boxed. I boxed him, and that’s what Robert [Garcia, Maidana’s trainer] wanted me to do with him anyway. But really, I’m not going to spar with a killer puncher like that any other way but my own style. I’m going out there to do what I do and get better at my craft, as he’s trying to figure my style out and try and get me.”
Those sparring sessions, he said, showed him that “I belong in with the best in the world. So my confidence has been riding high since then — and still is. Look what he’s done since then. He just gave [Floyd] Mayweather the best fight of Mayweather’s career.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org