The toughest thing for anyone who hits the lottery is deciding how to handle the money and who to trust. That's where Chris Algieri finds himself following his upset of Ruslan Provodnikov for the WBO light welterweight title.
That victory thrust him into position for the chance of a lifetime for a pay-per-view fight against WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao.
Industry sources indicate Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) has an offer in the vicinity of $1.5 million plus an upside if PPV sales are strong, but after taking short money of just $100,000 for Provodnikov, the 30-year-old Huntington native doesn't want to sell himself short for a shot at Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs), who is one of the two biggest drawing cards in boxing, along with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
"I took a calculated risk with the Ruslan fight and took short money because of that reason," Algieri said Saturday at an appearance at a sporting goods store in Huntington Station. "I was really unknown at that point. I'm not an unknown anymore.
"If we're going to make this fight happen, I value myself and my health very highly and what I've been doing for the past 20 years. I just want what I deserve."
Looking at Pacquiao's last three opponents, Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez each received $6 million and Brandon Rios got $4 million. All were much better known than Algieri and had fought multiple times on HBO. Algieri's promoter, Joe DeGuardia, suggested Joshua Clottey, who received $1.5 million in 2010, might be an apt comparison.
"With Josh Clottey, he wasn't an undefeated world champion. I am," Algieri noted. "I've got two things that are very important -- that [WBO championship] belt and a zero at the end of my record."
Does Algieri believe he's worth more than Clottey? "Yeah, I do," Algieri said.
To borrow a phrase from soccer, negotiations for a potential Pacquiao-Algieri fight have gone into extra time. Top Rank Promotions, which handles Pacquiao, has about a week left in which to complete a deal for the Nov. 22 date at the Venetian Casino in Macau, China. If Algieri doesn't reach an agreement in the next couple of days, it's possible Top Rank will move on to a different opponent, possibly even Provodnikov.
Asked if he's worried about overplaying his hand, Algieri said: "Of course. There's always a chance to lose opportunities. I had the Ruslan opportunity, and it worked out. But you've got to make the right moves. That turned out to be the right move. A lot of people thought it was a bad move. Until that night."
Algieri was knocked down twice in the first round, suffering a broken nose and a bruise under his right eye that swelled hideously and closed that eye by the final three rounds. But he boxed his way to a split decision win and since has recovered so well that he recently was cleared to resume training, though he will postpone contact until serious fight preparations begin.
Even if he fights Pacquiao, Algieri will retain his 140-pound title, but his options at that weight in terms of purse money pale in comparison to a Pacquiao fight. As DeGuardia recently said, being part of a Pacquiao promotion would take Algieri's name recognition to a new level. Algieri represents a different kind of story angle for HBO as a boy-next-door type from the suburbs of Long Island with a bachelor's degree from Stony Brook and a masters from NYIT in nutrition.
So there's a lot to think about as Algieri talks to his team of attorney Eric Melzer and longtime trainers Tim Lane and Keith Trimble and weighs the pros and cons of his one shot at the brass ring. "I'm sure they want to get it done as soon as possible," Algieri said of the promoters. "I think we all do. It's going to be all squared away fairly shortly. One way or the other, it's going to be figured out very soon."