As a boxer, Chris Algieri is a self-confessed work in progress.
But as a promoter of his brand, Algieri, who didn’t turn pro until he was 24, is ahead of his time. While other fighters struggle to market themselves, Algieri, through his looks, personality, and social media savvy, has quickly found a way to develop a rabid fan base.
Algieri is 18-0 with nine knockouts, which is impressive enough.
But perhaps nearly as impressive is that in less than a year, Algieri has posted 41 videos on YouTube under the banner, “Champion Lifestyle.”
In the brief films, Algieri, 29, can be seen discussing his boxing career, nutritional preferences, generally bringing fans into his inner sanctum.
“Everyone’s afraid to give out their secrets,” Algieri says of why more boxers don’t produce biographical-like videos. “I don’t look at it that way. I think that if you’re that good you can’t be denied.”
Most of the videos consist of Algieri narrating the footage himself, discussing things that most fighters usually shy away from.
There’s one, in which he’s driving his car, wearing sunglasses, hair combed, discussing whether he gets nervous before a fight. “The simple, straight away answer is, yes,” he says.
Another video shows him giving a tutorial on now to make yerba mate tea that lasts over seven minutes. ‘I’m pretty caffeine sensitive,” he says in the video. “So the mild kick from drinking herbal mate is nice to me.”
In all the videos, Algieri is impossibly sincere, rarely breaking from character, diligently explaining what it feels like to be a pro boxer.
It’s all meant to grow his brand. But Algieri understands that if he doesn’t progress in the ring, all the videos won’t matter. To that end, Algieri will take the next step in his career when he faces 17-1 Emanuel Taylor in the main event of a junior welterweight bout on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights from The Paramount in Huntington, LI, where Algieri is from. Algieri, who’s also active on Instagram and Twitter, hopes a win against No. 6 IBF-rated Taylor on Friday will increase his profile as a fighter to match his success on social media.
“Friday is exactly what I’ve been asking for a bunch of years now,” said Algieri, who’s also in the process of launching his own website and has a Master’s Degree in nutrition from the New York Institute of Technology. “At the very least it will give me national exposure so more people can get to see me and my style. But beyond that I’d like to use it as a steppingstone to have a big 2014 and look for some bigger fights down the line.”
His promoter, Joe DeGuardia, has mentioned possibly matching Algieri with Ruslan Provodnikov, the tough-as-nails WBO junior welterweight champion later this year. DeGuardia says he’s already started discussions with Provodnikov’s promoter Artie Pelullo.
“You can see if he wins a fight like this here’s a guy that has real crossover appeal,” DeGuardia said in a phone interview. “He’s not your typical fighter. He has a great background with his nutrition and these videos he’s doing- usually it’s a guy’s trainer who puts his fighter up to it but he’s doing it himself.”
A former kick-boxer, algieri turned pro in 2008 without the benefit of an amateur boxing career. Still, he thinks he’s ready for a fighter such as Provodnikov.
“That gets me excited,” he said. “That shows that we’re right there and not too long ago, Provodnikov was in the same place that myself and Taylor was in. He was a young, hungry up-and-coming guy. A couple fights later and now he’s pretty mainstream.”
And that’s somewhere where Algieri hopes to be- and not just as the subject of a short internet video.