Chris Algieri pulled a big upset back in 2014, when he won a split decision over Ruslan Provodnikov on HBO to take the WBO junior welterweight title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
That win led Algieri to a fight five months later in Macau with WBO welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao, where Algieri was quite infamously going to be let out the cage any time now, ultimately losing to Pacquiao over 12 rounds, going down six times.
After the loss to Pacquiao, Algieri stayed at 147, losing to Amir Khan and Errol Spence Jr in 2015 and 2016, respectively. His fight with Spence was his last for 19 months, before he returned last November with a win at his old stomping grounds, the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, New York.
Algieri officially returned to 140 on Jan. 18, beating Daniel Gonzalez over 10 rounds on the Andrade-Akavov card on DAZN, and he fights again on DAZN on June 1’s Joshua-Ruiz card, taking on British battler Tommy Coyle in a 10-round bout with a minor WBO belt on the line.
The minor WBO belt might not mean much for fight fans, because on top of (at least) four recognized world titles in every weight class, there are also a billion of these “rankings belts” in the sport, and following them is frankly useless and futile.
But for Algieri, now 35, winning the belt would put him a step closer to getting a shot to regain the title he never lost in the ring after winning it five years ago. The WBO junior welterweight belt is currently held by Maurice Hooker.
“Winning this fight, which is all that me and my team plan on doing, puts us in a very good position for some of the top guys in the division,” said Algieri. “Potentially a world title fight with the current WBO world champion Maurice Hooker, who holds the title that I never lost in the ring. That’s what I have in my sights.
“I still feel like part of that belt is mine. That’s not to take anything away from the current champion Hooker, he earned it and he fought his ass off to get to the position that he’s in. I feel like I need another crack at that title because essentially part of it is me.”
Coyle (25-4, 12 KO) is always a game fighter, and it sounds like Algieri even sees a bit of that Provodnikov style that he was able to topple back in 2014.
“You know what you’re going to get with Tommy Coyle. He’s going to come over here in great shape and give it his all,” Algieri said. “He’s a tough guy and he comes to fight. He’s a blood and guts kind of guy, a kind of guy that I can get excited for. This is going to be a fun fight to watch and it’s going to be a fun fight to be in!
”You’ve got a guy like him who’s going to come forward. He’s going to be throwing and he’s going to be fighting and he’s going to be hungry. Then you’ve got a guy like me who’s a master boxer who’s going to go out there and use his skills. At the same time, I’ve shown my ability to be tough, I’ve shown my ability to be gritty, and when I need that I can always tap into it.”