One of the storylines that emerged in the aftermath of Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Manny Pacquiao on May 2nd was the announcement that Mayweather intended to relinquish the world championships he holds in both the Welterweight and Jr. Middleweight divisions. Perhaps a storyline of more interest however, could be who Mayweather might face later this year in what could be the final fight of his career.
A fighter who has been in the running as a potential Mayweather opponent on more than one occasion is former unified WBA/IBF Jr. Welterweight world champion Amir Khan. Khan, who reigned as champion in the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division from 2009-2012 successfully defended his five times and successfully unified the WBA and IBF world titles before losing back-to-back fights to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia in 2011 and 2012.
Despite suffering some setbacks in his career, Khan has remained a force to be reckoned with and has won four straight fights since his loss to Garcia, including three wins in the 147lb. Welterweight division. Now after compiling wins over the likes of Carlos Molina, Julio Diaz, Luis Collazo, and Devon Alexander Khan may once again be in the running for a potential fight with Floyd Mayweather. Before Khan can set his sights on Mayweather however, he must first face a challenge in the form of former WBO Jr. Welterweight world champion Chris Algieri on Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Algieri emerged on Boxing’s main stage in June of last year when he scored a come from behind twelve round split decision over Ruslan Provodnikov to win the WBO world Jr. Welterweight championship. In that fight, Algieri overcame two knockdowns in the first round and a badly swollen right eye and was able to outwork Provodnikov throughout most of the fight to earn a hard fought decision victory.
Algieri however, would be stripped of his world title in what some considered a controversial move by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) prior to Algieri’s move up in weight to the 147lb. Welterweight division to challenge then WBO Welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao for his title in November of last year.
Algieri, who was also an undefeated two-division world champion in Kickboxing, prior to beginning his professional Boxing career would suffer his first loss as a fighter when he lost a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision to Pacquiao in a fight where Algieri suffered six knockdowns.
Although Algieri lost that fight, he more than proved his mettle in defeat by continuing to fight through adversity to go the distance. Now Algieri looks to rebound from that loss against Khan.
This figures to be an interesting contest as both fighters are known for their quickness and hand speed. What will interest this observer in the early rounds of this fight will be which fighter takes the initiative of being the aggressor and whether one of the fighters will look to play the role of counter puncher.
Although Khan would appear to have an edge in terms of punching power having scored nineteen knockouts in his thirty career wins compared to Algieri’s eight knockouts in twenty career wins, it would not surprise me to see a tactical chess match between the two fighters and to see this fight and up close on the scorecards. It will be interesting to see how Khan would deal with Algieri’s lateral movement during the course of this fight.
In his fight with Ruslan Provodnikov, Algieri was able to use his movement to set up his offense and was able to get his punches off before Provodnikov could get set to throw his punches. Even though Khan has a different style than Provodnikov and is also known for his quickness, it will be interesting to see if Algieri can implement a similar strategy of being an elusive target against Khan. It is a fight that could go either way.
What may be at stake for the winner of course could be a fight against Floyd Mayweather later this year. If a fight against Mayweather is not in store for the winner however, what could await the winner if Mayweather does follow through on his announcement and relinquishes his world titles could be a fight for a vacated world title in the Welterweight division.
Regardless of what may be in store for the winner of this fight, this observer believes given the styles of the two fighters this could be an entertaining fight. Whether the actual fight lives up to the interesting tactical battle it appears to be leading up to it remains to be seen.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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