The news that former WBO junior welterweight world champion Chris Algieri would serve as nutritionist to WBA middleweight champ Daniel Jacobs for his fight against Gennady Golovkin for his three title belts Saturday night at Madison Square Garden was a surprise not only to the boxing world but to Algieri himself.
The call came out of the blue from Keith Connolly, who manages Jacobs.
“They were really adamant about getting me involved,” Algieri said. “So, they made all the adjustments they needed to get me there.”
While making the transition from being a world kickboxing champion to traditional boxing, Algieri earned a bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook in health care management and a master’s degree from NYIT in clinical nutrition. He knows how to take care of his body, but he hasn’t fought in 11 months because of a contract dispute with promoter Joe DeGuardia. The job with Jacobs allowed Algieri to stay connected to boxing.
In addition to working with Jacobs at his Oakland training camp, Algieri sparred and trained alongside him. “Everyone at the gym said, ‘When are you fighting? You look like you’re in shape now,’” Algieri said. “And I am. The timing worked out well because I don’t have anything on the docket.
“I’m still trying to work out the business side of the sport. So, it allowed me to be involved with a big camp and have the media around it and keep my name in boxing circles. Getting excited about the sport again has been good. The magnitude of this fight is incredible.”
Having lost three of his past four fights in major events against Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Errol Spence Jr., Algieri drew on that experience to help Jacobs prepare psychologically for the biggest fight of his career in addition to supervising a high-intensity training regimen.
“The first thing I did when I came to camp was we watched about six ‘GGG’ fights in a row,” Algieri said. “Danny wanted to know what my thoughts were. So, we got up in the living room literally shadow boxing, going over different things, how I thought I saw things, what I thought would be important for him to work on.”
But Algieri’s primary focus was coordinating the nutrition and performance aspects of camp. When Connolly came to Jacobs with the idea, he checked Algieri’s profiles on Instagram and other social media and recognized that he knew his stuff. “I knew Chris for a long time, but I never knew that he has a program for fighters,” Jacobs said. “So, when my manager brought the idea to me, it was a no-brainer.”
Essentially, Algieri helped Jacobs maximize his natural size advantage. After they meet the 160-pound limit at the weigh-in early Friday morning, Golovkin likely will go up to about 170 pounds while Jacobs rehydrates to his normal 175 pounds.
“He’s a big guy, but I do think he’s going to feel better throughout the process and on fight night,” Algieri said of Jacobs. “You’re leveling the playing field by being bigger.”
In the process of working with Jacobs, Algieri kept himself ready to box whenever his dispute with DeGuardia is resolved. “We’re working through everything, trying to find out the best place for Team Algieri to move forward,” Algieri said. “I do see an end to all of this, and I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later.”