Chris Algieri “can’t f------ wait” to return to the ring Tuesday night in New York.
The former WBO junior welterweight champion hasn’t fought in two years. Spending most of 2021 in the gym to prepare for another comeback bout rejuvenated Algieri, who admitted that he has been burned out at times by the brutal business side of boxing.
The 37-year-old Algieri could’ve ended his long layoff against an easier opponent than Mikkel LesPierre. The Huntington, New York, native wants to find out where he stands immediately, though, because Algieri intends to box at least once more in 2021 before pursuing a higher-profile fight early in 2022.
The 10-round welterweight bout between Algieri (24-3, 9 KOs) and LesPierre (22-2-1, 10 KOs) will be part of fite.tv’s free stream of a Triller Fight Club card from Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater (7 p.m. EDT; 4 p.m. PDT).
“I didn’t want an easy fight,” Algieri told BoxingScene.com. “I wanted to come back against someone who’s for real, and LesPierre definitely is for real. He’s a very talented guy. He’s got a lot of experience. His only losses are to world champions. And I do believe we’re probably gonna see the best version of him.
“Last year, when he fought Pedraza, it was during the pandemic, and I felt bad for the New York fighters because they really didn’t have the opportunity to train properly. Now things are a little bit different, so I expect a fully prepared LesPierre.”
The left-handed LesPierre prepared at times in a public park before he opposed Puerto Rico’s Jose Pedraza in a 10-round encounter ESPN televised in July 2020 from MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. LesPierre also worked his full-time job at a New York hospital for part of his training camp prior to boxing Pedraza.
Pedraza (29-3, 14 KOs) beat Brooklyn’s LesPierre convincingly. The former IBF junior lightweight and WBO lightweight champion dropped LesPierre twice on his way to winning a unanimous decision.
The 36-year-old LesPierre’s previous loss came against another former WBO junior welterweight champ, Maurice Hooker. Dallas’ Hooker (27-2-3, 18 KOs) decisively defeated LesPierre by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder in March 2019 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Algieri stopped England’s Tommy Coyle (25-5, 12 KOs) following the eighth round of his last fight, a scheduled 12-rounder on the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr. undercard in June 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Besides training, Algieri has kept busy by calling fights on ESPN+ and DAZN.
“I’ve been chomping at the bit to get back in there,” Algieri said. “Obviously, the pandemic put everybody on the sideline, some longer than others. But for me, it’s another day at the office. I’ve been in the gym much more so than in past years. Before my last comeback [in November 2018], I wasn’t in the gym that much. For this one, I definitely have been. The work has been done. I’m feeling great.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.