Chris Algieri isn’t done boxing. But seeing ahead, laying the foundation for the next chapter, has always been part of his program.
It’s the kind of thinking that spurred him to transition from kickboxing to boxing, that had him earning his master’s degree while living the life of a pro fighter, cracking open physics textbooks in the car on the ride home from a workout.
At the moment, the tracks carrying Algieri’s present and future are merging faster than expected. His foray into sports nutrition drew a new spotlight earlier this year for his work with Daniel Jacobs prior to the middleweight’s high-profile fight against Gennady Golovkin.
The Long Island native Algieri and the Brooklyn-born Jacobs are both local fighters who have won championship belts, and they’re well known to Brooklyn Boxing fans. Jacobs has fought at Barclays Center five times, Algieri four times. There was an easy familiarity that came in handy when Algieri signed on to work with Jacobs during his training camp.
From early-morning runs and conditioning to lights out, Algieri was steady company for Jacobs throughout camp. He’d prepare meals, watch tape and join Jacobs in the gym.
“I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t know Danny on a personal level and didn’t like him,” said Algieri. “Because you’ve got to spend eight weeks with a guy, day in and day out, you’ve got to get along with him. So we had that background where we were familiar and friendly. But spending that much time with someone, going through an experience like that, and me sharing my experiences in a similar situation, definitely a relationship was created out of that.
“He’s a great guy. What he’s done is an incredible thing. The training camp was great. The whole team, everybody came together and Danny went out and performed great.”
Jacobs went the distance with Golovkin, the undefeated champ who had knocked out his last 23 opponents, and drew strong reviews for his performance despite dropping the decision.
Algieri found himself getting some more attention after being featured with Jacobs on 24/7, the behind-the-scenes preview of the run-up to the fight. The athletes from Long Island’s Stony Brook University that he’d been working with seemed a little more eager for his advice, and other athletes were reaching out to enlist his expertise.
Algieri’s nutritional strategies focus on hydration and timing, when an athlete should get the right macro-nutrients, carbohydrates, fats and proteins relative to their workouts. The days immediately before a fight are crucial in terms of making weight, and then rehydrating, refeeding and refueling before the fighter gets into the ring.
“I’ve always known that nutrition was going to be my career after boxing,” said Algieri. “I didn’t think it was going to overlap like that in terms of working with fighters during my own career. But the sky is the limit with that. I’ve been working on a book for a while, so that’s something I think that when it’s ready and the public is ready for it, that would be a great goal in my life to get that out there and get it published. From there, I like to teach. I like to talk to groups. I like public speaking. Being able to share my unique skill-set and experience is something that I think I’d like to do.”
His interest in the field goes back more than a decade. After graduating from Long Island’s St. Anthony’s HS, Algieri stayed local for college at Stony Brook. He wanted to continue his kickboxing training on familiar ground, but he also had his eye on medical school.
That plan was delayed as Algieri found success in kickboxing before switching over to boxing in 2008. He picked up his master’s degree from the New York Institute of Technology in 2011 while he was in the midst of winning his first 20 bouts. Unsatisfied with some of the answers he got from doctors over the years, he started doing his own research into the best ways to fuel and recover from a grueling schedule. Along the way, he became a reference for other fighters right in his own gym.
“A lot of guys saw that I was always in great shape,” said Algieri. “They always said I had an internal gas tank. I would always train really hard. I was always the guy who could spar more rounds, I was always the guy who could run farther and faster. I made weight easier than everybody else. You’re going to notice that. ‘Why am I suffering and this guy’s not? This guy cuts more weight than me, but he looks fine. I’m working so hard and he can go longer than me.’ The guys started to realize that. Also my post-workout protocols and the foods that I brought with me, everyone started to notice that. When they started to ask me about it, I had scientific answers.”
More and more people are coming to Algieri for those answers these days. While he counsels others, he’s also keeping himself in fighting shape. It’s been over a year since his last bout, but the former WBO world junior welterweight champ is anxious to get back in the ring.
“I definitely needed some time off,” said Algieri. “That whole whirlwind of experience where I really didn’t get a chance to think back yet, it’s still kind of spinning. But that itch has never left me.”