It was just nine months ago that Chris Algieri was a household name only on Long Island. He was fighting at the Paramount Theater in Huntington, which always was packed because his father, Dominic -- known to friends as "the mayor of Greenlawn" -- was busy selling thousands of dollars of tickets to the locals.
But Algieri's June upset of Ruslan Provodnikov for the WBO light welterweight title and his subsequent signing to fight for Manny Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title Nov. 22 in Macau, China, have launched him into another stratosphere.
"It's zero to 100," Algieri said Tuesday on an international conference call. "My mother joked one day, 'Chrissy, it's just like you said it was going to happen.'
"There can be nothing, and then, boom, an explosion. Now, you're in a full-on sprint toward your dreams. That's the nature of the business. I'm not surprised because I've seen it happen to other fighters. I knew my time would come."
Algieri's introduction to the world stage came on the six-stop, 27,000-mile tour that wound up in New York just after Labor Day. But since then, it seems as though he's done the heavy lifting with the media while Pacquiao trains in relative seclusion in his native Philippines.
This is what Algieri dreamed of while fighting in local events that mostly were beyond the TV lights. He's busy now, but Algieri was busy earlier in his career as either a full-time student or, more recently, working as a nutritionist and personal trainer. Four days before the Provodnikov fight, Algieri worked with a client.
"You want this kind of exposure," Algieri said. "A lot of guys say they want it, but when it comes, they're not ready or they didn't really want it. I'm not that kind of guy. This stuff gets me up. I've been enjoying my time under the microscope. I really believe it's helped our whole team step up and perform that much better."
While Pacquiao has been relatively quiet save for one uneventful conference call, his trainer, Freddie Roach, has been busy trying to sow seeds of doubt. He recently said Algieri is "in over his head" and is "taking bigger steps than he realizes." Roach, who was on the losing side in Provodnikov's corner, laughably said, "Algieri runs, he doesn't want to engage." As if there was anywhere to run in the undersized 18-foot ring in which Algieri fought Provodnikov.
Although Algieri hears Roach's remarks from those around him, it's against his philosophy to indulge in trash talk even if it helps the promotion. "That's not the man I have to box, so I'm not going to go back and forth firing darts at each other," Algieri said. "You don't see Pacquiao doing that."
At the same time, Algieri did entertain a question about Roach's motivation. He's got the heavy favorite. Is it an effort at intimidation?
"It seems kind of odd for him to be coming out and saying so many different things," Algieri said. "I would imagine it's some kind of strategy, a mental game. Freddie's been around a long time. Maybe this has worked for him against other guys in the past. It's not going to work on me."
After one final workout Wednesday in Las Vegas, Algieri will break training camp and board a flight to Macau. He's amped.
"We've done all the hard work here," Algieri said, "and we're ready to travel across the world and eventually shock the world."