Khan vs. Algieri tonight
(Photo credit: Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions) By Ryan Allan: Amir “King” Khan returns to the States tonight to take on former world champion and Manny Pacquiao punching bag Chris Algieri in a bid to keep his name in position to land the so called Mayweather sweepstakes for the champion’s forthcoming and supposedly final September fight.
When the fight was announced, I was quick to slam Khan for picking such an underwhelming name in Algieri when his division is stacked with so many top fighters and while I still feel the fight is hardly one to get the pulses racing, it is at least a decent test for Khan against a man who does have 2 good wins over Emmanuel Taylor and more recently in the Russian warrior, Ruslan Provodnikov.
Khan is in the difficult position of needing to win the fight and wanting to look good in doing so in order to make a statement stateside but if he looks too fast, too dangerous and too talented then we can assume that Floyd might want to look elsewhere for his final fight in September.
I expect Khan to box his way through this fight to an easy points decision, but I do expect him to be a little more adventurous than he has been in recent fights under the tutelage of skilled defensive trainer, Virgil Hunter. Khan needs to at least make this an exciting fight if not a competitive one, and given the style of Algieri, who will try to use the jab and his reach advantage to keep Khan at bay, that might be a tough thing to accomplish as the American is an awkward and skilled customer.
Algieri might not be the strongest fighter in the division (or anywhere near it) but he showed his heart in getting off his backside 6 times en route to his points loss to Pacquiao last November and if Khan can find a stoppage victory he will have made a good statement to the American viewers in doing something that Manny couldn’t do, and the bookies expect it from Khan who is just 4/6 odds on to win this fight on a stoppage.
I’m not convinced though with Khan much more of a boxer these days and much less of a brawler although you would expect there to be an element of showmanship about “King” who needs to somehow look good in winning and yet look vulnerable enough to tempt Mayweather into the ring in September. Not an easy thing to achieve and a dangerous game to play if that is indeed the kind of approach Khan is considering.
Of course Algieri is no big puncher with just 8 wins by stoppage, so you would imagine that Khan will have confidence in his ability to mix it up with the American and not succumb to one of those knockout blows that damaged his career in 2 previous defeats with Breidis Prescott and then in losing his title to Danny Garcia.
I still have big doubts that Khan will actually get his fight with Mayweather and to look beyond this fight would be a foolish move for Khan, especially when you consider his vulnerability to a heavy shot but I do feel under Hunter, those kind of mistakes should be disappearing from his game.
Khan needs to focus his attention on getting the job done tonight, and getting it done in the best possible style, irrespective of any future Mayweather fight as any attempt to adapt your style in order to look “vulnerable” is tantamount to playing Russian Roulette. Algieri might not have bullets in his gloves but Khan would be silly to play with fire, especially considering the oft talked about vulnerabilities with his chin.
As it is, I disagree with the glass jaw taunts that Khan has had to live with since that first shocking defeat to Prescott. Sure he was sparked out twice but so too have the likes of Klitschko and Pacquiao in the early part of their careers, and it didn’t stop them from becoming legends of the game and Khan, while displaying vulnerability, was fighting at a lower weight class and was still very much a young man at just 21 when suffering that first KO to Prescott.
I’ve been a big fan of Khan’s since his tremendous silver medal at just 17 in the 2004 Olympics although I was really disappointed with his choice of opponent here and he will need to look good in getting the win if he is to emerge with many props tonight.
I expect a supremely confident and skilful Khan to box his way to a unanimous and comfortable points decision against on over matched but game Chris Algieri and with the prospect of the Mayweather fight still a possibility for Khan, we should expect the Bolton man to be slightly more attacking than in recent fights as he looks to show Mayweather that he is both marketable and beatable for a potential showdown in Mayweather’s last hurrah in September.
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