The business dispute between former world champion Chris Algieri and promoter Joe DeGuardia that sidelined the Long Island fighter for more than two and a half years has been settled, and Algieri will make his comeback against journeyman Angel Hernandez Friday night in Huntington at a sold-out The Paramount theater on a card promoted by DeGuardia.
The boxer and promoter appeared Wednesday at a news conference in Manhattan, where they declared peace in their time together, announced a new “long-term” deal has been signed, and said their shared objective is for Algieri to drop back down to the 140-pound super lightweight division with the goal of regaining the WBO title he won four years ago.
Algieri (21-3, 8 KOs) last fought on April 16, 2016 when he was stopped for the only time in his career in five rounds by welterweight Errol Spence Jr. Asked if he expects ring rust to be a problem against Hernandez (14-11-2, 9 KOs), Algieri joked, “We call it ‘oxidation.’ You never know. It’s the longest layoff of my career.”
Algieri revealed an injury contributed to the layoff. He suffered a knee injury while training for Spence, underwent arthroscopic surgery three days after that bout and was sidelined for about eight months before going to work as a nutritionist and part-time sparring partner for former WBA middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs.
But the primary problem was a falling out over money between Algieri and DeGuardia. At the time, Algieri was upset about getting purses he said were no more than 50 percent of the amount he and DeGuardia were splitting, and he was demanding to know the amount of the total financial package the promoter received from the start instead of being informed at the legally mandated time the day before the fight.
Algieri laughed when asked what it took to finally bring the sides together. “It took everything less than a fistfight,” he said.
The 34-year-old fighter added, “It came down to burning time and burning money and getting myself back to where I needed to be. My window is much smaller than anybody else. Father Time was winning. It made more sense for me to return if we could work out a good deal. Both sides are happy and we’re going to keep everything positive moving forward. It’s about getting back on track, winning a world title and making some money.”
DeGuardia used a humorous analogy to explain his view of the dispute. “The way I look at it is you’re at the dinner table and there’s a couple meatballs sitting in the pot,” DeGuardia said. “You grab the meatball, and your cousin says, ‘Whoa! What’s going on?’ And you’ve got to figure out about the meatball. But it’s family and these things occur.”
In announcing a new “long-term” agreement with Algieri, DeGuardia said there will be no future disputes about percentage splits so long as he is the promoter of the event. DeGuardia acknowledged Algieri’s concern about not knowing the financial numbers for each deal from the outset, and said, “That’s an easy fix. We’ve come up with a process for how to handle those things. In that respect, we have the ability now to foresee things and what concerns he might have.”
Algieri indicated he certainly expects to receive more than 50 percent of the “meatballs” in the future. “We’re both happy with the deal,” Algieri said. “Most people would agree that 50 percent isn’t a fair cut for a fighter. It’s better than that.”
The plan is to move Algieri quickly toward another title shot. Depending on how he fares against Hernandez, DeGuardia would like to get another fight for Algieri in the first quarter of 2019 and the ultimate target is WBO super lightweight champion Maurice Hooker before the end of 2019.
Algieri also changed trainers and is working with Andre Rozier, who trains Jacobs and several other top fighters. “Chris is an elite, sharp-shooting boxer,” Rozier said. “His opponent will be begging the ref to stop it. Chris Algieri will again be [super lightweight] champion of the world before 2020. I give you my word.”
Fighting at The Paramount is a return to his roots for Algieri, who said, “The theme of this is ‘homecoming.’ It made sense to have it in my home at the Paramount, where I will look through the ropes and see family and where I will hear my brother screaming.”
Tickets are sold out, but the fight also may be viewed live on Fight.TV for a pay-per-view fee of $14.95.