–by Michael Castellano
In a perfect world, Long Island native Chris Algieri would have been tasting victory in his hometown against one of boxing’s premier fighters in Amir Khan. But the boxing world is far from perfect.
Khan, widely rumored to be Floyd Mayweather’s next – and maybe final – opponent, took another step closer to that possible future megafight with a win by unanimous decision over Algieri in front of a largely pro-Khan crowd Friday night at the Barclays Center.
Algieri (20-2), who suffered an embarrassing defeat to Manny Pacquiao last fall when he was knocked down six times, used a newly-crafted aggressive style to keep the attack on Khan. Instead of weaving in and out of punches, Algieri came out of the gates firing each round against Khan.
“Khan is very cagey,” Algieri said. “I guess the judges liked that style tonight.”
Khan (31-3) won by scores of 115-113, 117-111, 117-111, and was able to hold off the aggression from Algieri and outpoint him in the end.
“I have to give Chris credit,” Khan said. “He was very aggressive tonight.”
This fight was seen around the boxing world as a preliminary test for Khan before a future matchup with Mayweather, assuming Mayweather takes to the ring again. Khan had been brushing off the idea of it throughout the week, but finally spoke on the issue immediately after the win over Algieri.
“I think everyone knows I want to fight Floyd Mayweather,” Khan said.
For Algieri, a win would have put him on the shortlist of one of the best in the welterweight division, but he has now lost two fights in a row after an impressive split-decsision victory over Ruslan Provodnikov in his previous fight at the Barclays Center last spring. His new trainer, John David Jackson, said he would likely benefit from a longer training period before his next fight, adding that they didn’t have as much time to prepare for Khan as they would have liked.
In the undercard to the main event, Javier Fortuna defeated Bryan Vasquez by unanimous decision, winninging a vacant junior lightweight title while doing so. It pushed Fortuna’s dominant record to 28-0-1. Fortuna was just too much for Vasquez, landing 237 punches to just 174 for Vasquez. Fortuna continuously had Vasquez on the ropes after landing punch after punch to the head.
[Cover photo (Amir Khan) courtesy of Al Bello/Getty Images]