Former WBO junior welterweight champion Chris Algieri isn’t your average New Yorker. He has transitioned from being homegrown to no longer being an unknown. Algieri is looking to bounce back since losing a lopsided decision to Manny Pacquiao in the fall, all while maintaining his status as an elite fighter.
As for his counter-part, the Bolton born and bred Amir Khan has reached boxing’s summit on more than one occasion. Khan, an Olympic medalist, captured the WBA/IBF titles during his tenure at 140. Now fighting as a full-fledge welterweight (147), Khan is riding a 4 fight win streak, that saw impressive outings against former champions Luis Collazo and Devon Alexander. Khan anticipates adding to the already lengthy list of accomplishments. He is trying to audition for the slot as the “B” side in the Floyd Mayweather equation. There is no denying that both men have a lot at stake, and stand to lose a lot financially, if the outcome isn’t what both fighters assume.
Tonight, both Khan and Algieri will meet face-to-face in the squared circle housed at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn. The same location where Algieri pulled off the improbable upset against the heavy handed Russian, Ruslan Provodnikov.
“You are going to see two proven champions in a high intensity and high level fight,” Algieri said, 31, now 20-1, (8) in regards to his showdown with the Brit. The contest will be televised on Spike TV, as a part of the Premier Boxing Champions series. “We will be laying everything on the line come Friday night.”
With Mayweather’s swan song looming, and Khan being the front runner to challenge the undefeated pound-for-pound king, prevailing wisdom would suggest that Khan is overlooking Algieri, in lieu of the biggest payday of his career.
“Algieri is a fighter that has a lot of skills and assets,” Khan said, 28, now 30-3, (19) with regards to dismissing Algieri as a legitimate opponent. “His range and height give him good advantages against opponents, but I believe with my speed, movement and style, it will be too much for him.”
Since aligning himself with the 2011 trainer of the year, Virgil Hunter, Khan’s skill set has been significantly tweaked. Khan went from being a gun slinger to being more cautious. Khan, a victim of two brutal knockout losses, was deemed as having a vulnerable chin. Under the watchful eye of Hunter, Khan doesn’t leave himself exposed to be hit regularly. To Khan’s credit, he has yet to be out boxed. So it’s presumed that Algieri’s game plan consists of getting to Khan’s chin. However, the 8 knockouts on his ledger would indicate wishful thinking as oppose to strategy.
For that purpose, Algieri has hired the services of training extraordinaire John David Jackson. Jackson has guided Sergey Kovalev to the pinnacle of the light heavyweight division. Is it possible that Jackson may have found some hidden power in Algieri’s repertoire?
“Working with John David Jackson has truly been a blessing,” Algieri said. He has brought out the best Chris Algieri there is. You are going to see a whole new fighter come Friday night.”
The action begins at 9pm/EST. Super featherweights Bryan Vasquez, of Costa Rica and Javier Fortuna kick off the telecast.