Juan Diaz graduated from college and became the most well known college graduate champions. Two degree holder Chris Algieri graduated from college and became maybe the second most well known college graduate champion. Algieri earned a bachelor’s degree in healthcare science from Stony Brook University and a master’s degree from New York Institute of Technology.
#5 Chris Algieri 21-3 (8 KO)
Titles held: World Boxing Organization (WBO) World super lightweight
Algieri turned pro at the late age of 24-years-old after completing an undefeated amateur and professional kickboxing career. He quickly ran his record to 18-0 with eight knockouts. His biggest wins were over prospect checker Bryan Jargal, prospect Jose Peralta Alejo, and former world title challenger Mike Arnaoutis.
Algieri scored unanimous decision wins over each of them including his first 10 round fight against Alejo.
Contender and Champion
Algieri had a very short tenure as a “contender”. Emmanuel Taylor was his next opponent and his first step up. The International Boxing Federation (IBF) ranked Taylor as the number four contender at 140 pounds. The fight took place on ESPN Friday Night Fights and was the main event.
Taylor could not figure out the defense of Algieri who came forward and cut off the ring. He mixed his punches well using his jab and hooks to the head to keep Taylor off balance. Algieri won at least seven of the 10 rounds and looked worthy of even higher level of competition.
That was the first and last fight of his phase as a contender. His next fight saw him challenge new champion Ruslan Provodnikov for the WBO super lightweight champion on June 14, 2014 at the Barclays center in Brooklyn.
Provodnikov was the heavy favorite coming into the fight and it appeared he would smash Algieri. Algieri was dropped twice in the first round and his eye was swelling grotesquely. He remained calm and started to box like he usually did and took control of the fight.
Algieri used his superior jab and movement to keep Provodnikov off balance. He avoided the big looping shots from Provodnikov and won the fight on a split decision over 12 rounds and became the WBO super lightweight champion.
Manny Pacquiao Fight
Algieri moved up to welterweight to challenge Manny Pacquiao. He challenged him on November 23, 2014 in China for the WBO welterweight title. It was his first fight outside of New York and he was a huge underdog. He couldn’t replicate the magic of his last fight and lost the decision over 12 rounds.
Welterweight Run and Two Degree Holder Chris Algieri
Algieri stayed at welterweight and fought former champion Amir Khan for the WBC Silver welterweight title. He started the fight out aggressively which surprised Khan who countered from the outside effectively.
The commentary team noted how much better Algieri looked in this fight than the Pacquiao fight. He cut the ring off and wobbled Kahn with a big power shot early. Algieri was the aggressor and chased Khan all night while landing big punches and finishing the fight strongly.
The fight was a unanimous decision win for Khan but was criticized for being to wide on two of the cards. Algieri got back on the winning track with a 10 round decision win over contender Erick Bone. He was busier in eight of ten rounds.
Bone was dropped in the eighth round from a punch behind the shoulder that caused Bone to trip over Algieri’s front foot. Algieri was then stopped for the first time in his career by Errol Spence Jr. in five rounds.
Why he is here:
He hasn’t had the best career in the ring but he is a former champion and isn’t afraid to fight the best. Algieri looked dreadful in the Pacquiao fight but fought a good fight against top contender Amir Khan. His knockout loss to Spence isn’t anything to be ashamed of.
Outside of the ring is what places him so high on the list. He is two degree holder Chris Algieri and is one of the few fighters to have a masters degree.