Two years ago, when hometown judging ostensibly robbed Ruslan Provodnikov of a decision victory over the incredibly tough Chris Algieri, the judges at Barclays Center couldn’t have possibly imagined the deep waters they would put Algieri in for the remainder of his career.
From every fight forward, he would be the perennial underdog—a man who would go the distance even when he couldn’t lock in the win.
But having been ripped apart by a previously untested prospect in Errol Spence Jr., where can Algieri go from here? It might be harsh—reactionary even, but Algieri should just hang them up.
This was never the right sport for Algieri. The fact that he landed a fight against Provodnikov was a minor miracle. Against Pacquiao? A major one. Algieri is a middle-class kid from Long Island with a college degree and a career as a nutritionist-to-the-wealthy in waiting if he so chooses to quit while he’s ahead.
This is not a sport for kids with graduate degrees. It’s for young, starving people who come from absolutely nothing—the more destitute, the better they can impose their will.
Algieri will never understand the struggles of a Pacquiao or a Provodnikov. Algieri knows suburban Long Island. He knows spacious brick homes and warm fireplaces. He doesn’t know the world Kell Brook grew up in—and he certainly hasn’t had to walk to a hospital unassisted bleeding profusely after having been stabbed the way Brook once did.
Algieri is a tough kid. No one is doubting his grit, and no one is doubting his heart. For him to have accomplished as much as he has in this sport is amazing given his background and given how late he approached professional boxing in his life. But there’s nowhere to go from here.
Who of any merit can Algieri beat? Andre Berto? Victor Ortiz? Humberto Soto? Even in those matchups—all of which are nowhere near the top 10 in the Welterweight landscape—the result is a tossup that would favor the guys who have some semblance of power in their hands, and that surely isn’t Algieri.
So why bother? Why bother to keep getting your face pounded in, Chris? Why bother dealing with a sport that has buried you to the role of gatekeeper in less than two years since your mainstream arrival? Boxing doesn’t want Chris Algieri for anything other than the fact that he is now a moving heavy bag.
If Algieri quits now, he’ll be a winner. He will have faced three fighters who can possibly be thought of as some of the greatest of the decade. Not many other fighting collegians can say that, especially with their brains intact.
Take the money and run, Chris. Otherwise, it’s all downhill from here.