SAN DIEGO, May 29, 2015 – The last time Chris Algieri got into the ring, the “Fighting Collegian” got schooled by Manny Pacquiao’s superior speed, skills and ring generalship.
Algieri (20-2, 8 KOs) gets back in the ring Friday night with a new trainer and an eager attitude against another boxer known for – you’re ahead of me, his speed. Britain’s Amir “King” Khan comes to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for a bout with New York’s Algieri for a Premier Boxing event Friday night. It is his first fight in the U.S. for five years.
Give Algieri credit, he didn’t take a tune-up fight against a journeyman. Instead, he made a change in trainers; he is now working with John David Jackson, former middleweight champion who’s had tremendous success with Sergey Kovalev. Jackson and Algieri seem a good fit. Jackson approaches boxing with an analytical eye. Algieri describes Jackson as a “great teacher,” a compliment from the guy with a master’s degree in nutrition science from Stony Brook University.
Unlike Algieri, Khan (30-3, 19 KOs) is coming off a good performance against Devon Alexander, one he felt set him up for his dream bout against Floyd Mayweather. Khan missed his opportunity this month when Manny Pacquiao got the chance in the long awaited matchup. Khan needed to make another matchup, and Algieri got the call instead, one he eagerly accepted.
Khan denies it’s an easy fight for him designed to strengthen his case for a bout against Mayweather, saying all the usual things about “respecting” and “not looking past” Algieri. But who’s kidding here, this is a showcase set up to make Khan’s case not just with Floyd, but by energizing fans who will start calling for the bout.
Mayweather has one more fight on his Showtime contract, set sometime in September. Khan, a practicing Muslim, observes fasting for Ramadan, and this has never been negotiable. It derailed any chance of a fight last fall. But this year, Ramadan will be observed starting in mid-June. Khan says he could be ready for a fight in September, but Chris Algieri gets a say in front of his hometown fans, motivated to redeem himself after the Pacquiao beatdown.
Khan has Algieri beat on speed; Algieri needs to employ crafty thinking to get to Khan’s suspect chin. Algieri is plenty tough in the ring, surviving a wicked fight against Ruslan Provodnikov and getting up from six knockdowns by Pacquiao. Don’t look for a KO tonight. It’s likely to be a volume punching fight and a jab fest.
On the undercard, the co-feature is likely to be a crowd pleaser full of action. Junior lightweights Javier Fortuna (27-0-1, 20 KOs) of the Dominican Republic takes on Bryan Vasquez (34-1, 18 KOs) of Costa Rica. The flashy Fortuna goes up against the aggressive Vasquez, who likes to mix it up. These are two quality athletes who should have plenty of fans in the seats from their home countries to cheer them on. This is what I call a popcorn fight, a tasty snack with plenty of pop.
Saturday night in London, British fight fans will see a pay per view event featuring hometown favorites. IBF welterweight champion and rising star Kell Brook of Sheffield takes on Frankie Gavin of Birmingham in an all-England matchup. On the undercard, Britain’s Kevin Mitchell meets WBC lightweight belt holder Jorge Linares of Venezuela via Japan; and the “Russian Mexican” Evgeny Gradovich puts his IBF featherweight title up against Welchman Lee Selby. It isn’t being broadcast in the U.S., but keep your eye on YouTube and Twitter for plenty of coverage.
Brook and Khan are destined for a clash eventually; keep your eye on “Special K” as part of the new generation of boxing stars.
If you’re watching boxing live this weekend, join me on Twitter for the conversation with plenty of fellow fight freaks.
“Premier Boxing Champions: Khan Vs. Algieri and Fortuna Vs. Vasquez, Spike TV, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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