Chris Algieri was unable to make the most of his fight with Manny Pacquiao in November, but the New York native is confident that he can come back stronger than ever on Friday night. The boxer is looking to pull off a surprising victory when he faces Amir Khan at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Khan enters the bout as the heavy favorite (-1600), though Algieri’s odds (+800) have slightly improved in the week leading up to the fight. But the underdog has indicated that he’ll be better prepared than he was the last time he stepped in the ring.
Trainer Tim Lane is out, and he’s been replaced by John David Jackson, who is a former world title holder and currently trains light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. After being knocked down by Pacquiao six times in the unanimous decision defeat and losing by at least 16 points on each judge’s scorecard, Algieri expects a much better performance out of himself.
“I know that it gets said all the time, but this was truly the best and most intense training camp of my life,” Algieri told reporters during fight week. “Working with John David Jackson has truly been a blessing. He has brought out the best Chris Algieri there is. You are going to see a whole new fighter come Friday night.”
Algieri was on the defensive for most of his fight against Pacquiao, and he’ll be looking to throw a lot more punches against Khan. Jackson believes the boxer has more power than some might think.
Even if Algieri pulls off the upset, a knockout seems unlikely. Though Khan has been knocked out twice in his career, including in his most recent loss against Danny Garcia, only eight of Algieri’s 20 career victories have come from an early stoppage.
Despite the changes Algieri has made, a victory for Khan by decision remains the most likely scenario. He’s been masterful in his four consecutive wins, most recently beating Devon Alexander by unanimous decision in December. Nineteen of his 30 wins have come via knockout, but his last three fights have gone all 12 rounds, and Algieri’s ability to withstand so much punishment from Pacquiao showed just how hard it is to knock him out.
Khan could risk a surprising loss if he overlooks Algieri, who has beaten quality opponents like Ruslan Provodnikov. While Khan has Algieri directly in front of him, much of the talk has surrounded a potential match with the sport’s top star. Floyd Mayweather is still looking for an opponent for his fight in September, and Khan has emerged as the most likely candidate.
"I'm focused on Chris Algieri," Khan said. "I don't want to look past this fight, this is going to be a tough fight for me.
"I've made that mistake before in boxing, when you look past fights, but I ain't looking past this fight.”
Being from New York, Algieri should have strong support from the Brooklyn crowd. But despite the possible distractions, it’s hard to think that Khan will lose. A fight with Mayweather has been looming over his last few fights, and he’s continued to get the job done.
Prediction: Khan over Algieri in a unanimous decision