THERE will be a new member of Chris Algieri’s corner when he fights Manny Pacquiao tomorrow (November 23). After the terrible swelling that closed his eye in Algieri’s last fight, against Ruslan Provodnikov, ace cutman Stitch Duran has joined the team.

“It was because of the eye. I had known Tim Lane the trainer through mixed martial arts,” Duran told Boxing News. “He offered me the opportunity to work with him. I jumped on it and here I am. Chris, right off the bat realised, like he said, there was a chink in the armour and we now fixed it by bringing in Stitch. I’m real happy to be with him.”

Duran was working Wladimir Klitschko’s corner last weekend when the world heavyweight champion halted Kubrat Pulev in Germany. “I’d never seen Wladimir so happy to see that knockout. But it was a good night, it was good to see him as strong as he was, being as effective as he was and he took a couple of shots that he withstood. So I think it answered a lot of questions,” Duran said.

Pulev had riled the Klitschko before the fight and Duran remains deeply impressed with the champion. “He’s just so disciplined. Everything he does is so systematic,” Stitch said. “It’s a disciplined diet that he’s on day by day by day. Technique-wise he looked tremendous so he really hasn’t lost a beat. He might have picked up a beat.”

Duran in fact suggested that he senses echoes of Klitschko in Algieri. “When he came to Vegas I attended [Algieri’s] training camps and wrapped his hands every day. I like the kid, he’s a good, good kid. He’s a nice injection of a good storyline for boxing,” the cutman said. “He’s like a mini Wladimir. He’s good looking, not as big obviously, he’s educated but he’s disciplined. He’s focused and he has a giant heart.”

Duran, who is well known for his work in the UFC, continued, “Tim [Lane, Algieri’s trainer] is a martial artist, I’m a martial artist. Our mentality is different from the boxing mentality. The boxing mentality is still very old school but if you go into any mixed martial arts gym, they’re very respectful in what they do but they’re very knowledgeable in what they do. Tim to me is extremely special.”


So Stitch does not consider Algieri’s background in kickboxing a disadvantage against Pacquiao. “Boxing people they’re real funny, they’re real old school but listen a combat is a combat. When he’s had 20 something fights in kickboxing, he’s been in the ring 20 something times. So it’s not like he only has 20 boxing events. Getting hit and taking pain, the mental aspect, the preparation, everything is all really the same,” he said. “Him being in the trenches that long. It’s not going to hurt him, it’s going to help him.

“These guys are athletes and they’re gladiators, there’s no difference. I know because I work with all of them.”


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Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank