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Chris Algieri's mom, Adriana, battles pre-fight nerves

Adriana Algieri at the Algieri household on Oct.

Adriana Algieri at the Algieri household on Oct. 28, 2014. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

MACAU -- Dominick Algieri nodded toward his wife, Adriana, and said, "She's already a nervous wreck."

This was Thursday night in their hotel suite at the Venetian Macao. They had followed their son Chris halfway around the world from the home in Greenlawn that Dominick built with his own two hands and the help of some relatives.

It was a journey they never imagined even after the younger of their two sons became a world champion kickboxer.

But here they were counting down the hours until Chris stepped into the ring against eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao just after noon Sunday Macau time.

"I'm trying to stay busy, but it's hard," said Adriana, who planned an excursion to Hong Kong with her husband for Friday. "I always get like this, but this is a little bigger because Manny is who Manny is. It's such a global stage. It's such a big step up."

It wasn't that long ago that Chris sat in the living room of the family home, where he occupies a basement apartment, and cheered for Pacquiao with older brother Michael. Recalling those days, Adriana said, "I've heard the comments from my sons. 'This guy's unbelievable! He's so fast!' "

Choking up just a bit, Adriana added, "I love what Pacquiao does outside the ring because of his generosity and how he tries to help his people. That really makes me like him. But I came to understand from Christopher that this is a job and they have to go in there and do it."

The Algieris met briefly with Chris upon their arrival Wednesday morning, visiting his suite for about 30 minutes, and then gave him his space. They had the comfort of knowing they soon would be surrounded by a group of 25 to 30 relatives and friends.

The closer a fight gets, Adriana witnesses a palpable transformation in Chris. "When I go to hug him, there's this wall," she said. "He gets very stiff and focused. It feels like a different person that's not my boy. After a fight, he comes to me to show me he's OK, but it takes time to come out of that mental preparation."

The gregarious Dominick, who is a supervisor in the Town of Huntington highway department, is just as emotional as his wife. Recalling his son's last fight in June at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where he upset Ruslan Provodnikov for the WBO light welterweight title, Dominick said it hurt him to watch Chris' right eye grow purple and close after a first-round knockdown.

"That was the only fight I went in the ring afterwards," Dominick said. "I was crying. I thought my son lost his eye. I went up and he hugged me and told me, 'Dad, my eye is fine. It's not as bad as it looks. I'm fine.' I'm very Italian, very emotional. They laugh at me. I cry at movies."

Adriana never attends her son's fights. She planned to stay quietly by herself in the hotel room Sunday. For the Provodnikov fight, she peeked at the TV, figuring it was over, but the start was delayed and she was greeted by the sight of her son's ugly eye. She ran downstairs, where she lay on her son's bed and cried.

"I thought he lost his eye," she said. "I didn't know. All I wanted to know was that he could see. That was rough."

Dominick said he and Michael race to be the first to call Adriana with news of the result. "Usually, I tell her and she says, 'I don't believe you. I need Mike to call me,' " Dominick said. "I don't even think about getting between her and her sons. She'll kill me."

Laughing at their routine, Adriana said, "I call him a liar all the time. He has lied. Last time, my big boy called me and said, 'Mom, it's going to be all right.' I knew that meant that Chris wasn't all right then and there, but I knew he won."

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