Amir Khan will put his WBC Silver welterweight title on the line against Chris Algieri on May 29 at Barclays Center in a boxing match that few expect the champ to lose. While Khan was unable to secure a fight with Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, he is in position to pad his resume for an upcoming high-profile fight later this year of in 2016 with a victory over the scrappy Algieri.
Khan has won four fights in a row, most recently beating Devon Alexander in December. Algieri suffered his first career loss in November when he was soundly defeated by Pacquiao, and he enters the upcoming bout as a +850 underdog at Bovada.lv. Khan’s betting odds have been set at -1800.
Having not lost in nearly three years, Khan was hoping to secure a fight with the likes of Pacquiao or Mayweather. He was unable to do so for the first half of 2015, but the Brit is confident that a victory over Algieri will set up the biggest fight of his career.
“One punch can change a fight and it’s all about focusing on what is in front of me,” Khan told talkSPORT. “If I win this fight in style it will put me in a great position for a mega-fight.
“I've been in this position before and let it get to me, but I'm probably closer than ever [to a really big fight] so I'm not going to let anything go wrong this time. No mistake, I'm going to win this fight comfortably.”
Khan was terrific in his last fight, overwhelming Alexander 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110 on the judges’ scorecards. The 28-year-old landed 243 of his attempted 563 punches. Alexander was only able to connect on 91 of his 461 attempts, and he allowed Khan to land 54 percent of his power punches.
As dominant as Khan was in his last fight, Algieri was equally overmatched the last time he stepped in the ring. Facing the heavily favored Pacquiao, Algieri was knocked down six times in the unanimous decision loss. Algieri landed just 108 of his 469 attempted punches, and he connected with 107 fewer power punches than Pacquiao.
A split decision victory over Ruslan Provodnikov last June earned Algieri his bout with PacMan. He entered the Pacquiao fight as a relative unknown, having won his first 20 fights after making the transformation from kickboxing.
"The Ruslan fight, I had a damaged eye in the first round. I didn't really get to show my style,” Algieri told Newsday. “The Pacquiao fight wasn't my style. These guys don't really know who's going to show up. Now that I'm working with John David Jackson, there are things he's cultivating that we think are going to be pretty surprising."
Even if Khan has his way with Algieri, this fight is expected to go the distance. The Brit's last three fights all went 12 rounds, and Algieri showed plenty of heart against Pacquiao, continuing to fight after several knockdowns.
Algieri had a big 2014 until his fight with Pacquiao, beating Emmanuel Taylor by unanimous decision and topping Provodnikov, despite suffering two knockdowns in the first round. But his loss in November proved that he might not be good enough to go toe-to-toe with the very best welterweights, and Khan could cruise to a fifth straight victory.
Prediction: Khan over Algieri in a unanimous decision