After Chris Algieri managed to upset Ruslan Provodnikov last June, he got the opportunity of a lifetime against one of the sports biggest stars in Manny Pacquiao. But instead of showing the world he was ready to compete at the highest level, Algieri got flipped like a pancake a half-dozen times en-route to a wide unanimous decision loss. Algieri admits that the loss shook his confidence, and he knew that he needed to seek help if he was ever going to rebound. He believes he found what he's needed in John David Jackson, noted trainer of Sergey Kovalev.
Jackson was unsure of what to make of Algieri when he first visited him in Florida, but it didn't take long for him to be convinced that Algieri was worth training.
"Chris came down to Florida, sought me out and told me that he needed help," said Jackson, who works with light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, among others. "Chris kept trying to win, even after he got knocked down six times by Pacquiao. That told me everything about Chris as a person and as a fighter."
But before Jackson could know for sure whether or not he could help improve Algieri's game, he needed to understand where he was coming from - particularly what went wrong when he arrived on the biggest stage.
"I asked Chris what happened in the Pacquiao fight, it seemed he got knocked down and his whole game plan went out the window," Jackson said. "He told me he didn't have a game plan, and his corner didn't have a game plan. You have to have a game plan against someone like Pacquiao. You just have to. Against a fighter like that, it definitely poses a problem when you don't."
Now just wait a second here! Is Chris Algieri really admitting that he showed up to the biggest fight of his career without a game plan? I find that a little hard to believe. I was quite sure that he did have a game plan that entailed kennel-owner Tim Lane unleashing a rabid Chris Algieri in the second half of the fight where he would presumably ravage Pacquiao - except things didn't quite work out that way...at all.
So Algieri admitted to Jackson that he had a poor training camp and that his trainer Tim Lane was hopelessly overmatched for that level of competition. Jackson would still need a bit of convincing though, but after a brief period of watching Algieri shadowbox, Jackson decided that Chris could really fight and opted to take him under his tutelage. Jackson says that all Chris needed was a seasoned professional to train him in order to bring the best out of him, and he plans on doing just that.
Together, one of the things they've been working on is Chris' punching power, with Jackson teaching Chris how to sit down on his punches - something he says Chris has never done before which is why his power appears to be non-existent. And knowing Khan's chin has been cracked before, Jackson thinks this area will make a big difference in the fight. Jackson also isn't sold on Virgil Hunter's training techniques and thinks that'll show up in the fight as well.
"Khan can't fight on the inside. He'll grab and hold. A lot of times for fights like this, I watch the trainer. I see the way (Khan's trainer) Virgil (Hunter) trains. I have seen Virgil make a lot of mistakes as a trainer, the way he's standing, the way he was punching. If that's the way he's going to make his fighter a better fighter, then they've both lost. Chris is going to shock so many people for this fight."
I suppose we'll find out if there's any credence to all this tonight. Chris Algieri takes on Amir Khan this evening at 9pm EST on Spike TV.