By Mark G. Butcher in Macao: Manny Pacquiao might be advised to take holy water between rounds when he faces Chris Algieri at the Cotai Arena on Sunday. Trainer Tim Lane has jokingly suggested that Algieri’s recuperative powers may emanate from a more sinister origin after viewing his fighter’s unnatural regeneration at first hand.
“When we used to spar, he’d give me a black eye and I’d give him a black eye,” recalled Lane of their kickboxing days. “He’d bruise a rib or something and I would come back the next week and, I don’t tell him, but I’m still hurting. My black eye is still really black and his black eye is gone. After we started to become friends I said, “Man, you heal like a vampire!’ He later broke his wrist and, again, he healed super, super fast.
“After the fight with Ruslan Provodnikov [where Algieri’s right eye swelled up like a balloon], I said, ‘With that eye, man, you’re done for the year’ and he was like ‘Tim, I’m fine.’ Two weeks later he sent me a picture of his [healed] eye and I said again, ‘This guy is a vampire!’ His eye was grotesque, but he just heals like a vampire.”
It seems confidence, rather than blood, runs through Lane’s veins. If you could bottle his self-belief you’d be a billionaire. He learned his trade the hard way on the kickboxing circuit where he met a young Algieri and the two forged a common bond.
“I was a professional kickboxer for 12 years,” said Lane. “I achieved my goal of being world champion. I had [Assistant] Keith [Trimble] come in a little later in my career. I had 18 fights, I was 17-1 with 14 knockouts – a lot of those knockouts being to the liver so I love to smash bodies up, but now that I’m done it’s Chris’s job and I’m very satisfied at watching him win.
“I had a lot of problems outside the ring. I had a lot of trouble,” he continued. “I didn’t have my mind together the way Chris has his together so we’re not similar in things outside the ring. But inside the ring he’s a ferocious beast as I was. I’ve actually had to learn to be a better human being, like him, outside the ring. Especially since retirement. I still learn from him. I’m a red-headed stepchild and I’m a lefty. There’s more midgets walking around with one leg than me!”
The self-assurance and eloquence of Algieri, 20-0 (8 KOs), has impressed most of the media here during fight week. The New Yorker has an ’X-Factor’ about him that could open doors beyond the sport should his boxing star continue to rise.
“Chris Algieri believes in himself. Chris Algieri is honest with himself and that’s something that the human race in general could use,” said Lane. “We all question ourselves a little bit, we all cut corners a little bit. Even ‘Stitch’ (Jacob Duran - Algieri’s cutman) will eat a muffin now and again! Chris Algieri doesn’t do that. He’s always honest with himself. He surrounds himself with people who believe in him and, if I had to sum up in one word what makes Chris who he is, it would be ‘belief’.”
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