Chris Algieri aka ‘the real life Rocky,’ who is training for his November 22 bout against Manny Pacquiao in Macau, China, is far from the conventional boxer. The Long Island native became a household name with his surprise victory over Ruslan Provodnikov in June: Algieri, in a story fit for the big screen, overcame two first round knockdowns to win a split decision for the Junior Welterweight Title at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

But perhaps the best thing about the thirty year old, besides his good looks and ease in front of the camera, is the story about his unorthodox journey to boxing. Algieri began his athletic career as a kickboxer: beginning his training at the young age of ten under Robert Mauro. Chris was able to win several titles in high school, before eventually turning pro and winning the “Sport Karate Association Welterweight and the World Kickboxing Association Super Welterweight Championships.” Ultimately, he finished his kickboxing career undefeated at 20-0 and soon after began boxing professionally: a decision in some regards made for monetary reasons.

Since then, Algieri has developed an impressive undefeated record, with some great victories over highly regarded talent like Emmanuel Taylor — who was the International Boxing Federation’s fourth ranked contender — Jose Alejo and most importantly the aforementioned Ruslan Provodnikov. The latter fight garnered him universal acclaim from boxing analysts and the general public alike, while also securing him a shot at Manny Pacquiao for the WBO Welterweight title: a fight Pacquaio needs to win if he wants any chance at fighting Floyd Mayweather next year.

However, Chris Algieri is as much known for his humble life choices as he is for his ‘Rocky-like never say die’ mentality in the ring. The boxer has a pre-med undergraduate degree from Stony Brook University and a graduate degree in clinical nutrition from the New York Institute: he is a certified sports nutritionist and plans on becoming a doctor in the future.  He lives in his parents’ basement in a very modest set up: with “a treadmill, some free weights and a double end bag” right next to his bed. It is truly hard to make this stuff up: making his story the definition of a true underdog tale and fitting of the ‘Rocky’ moniker.

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