By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Amir Khan victorious, but unimpressive against Algieri
Former unified WBA/IBF junior welterweight champion Amir Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) was not convincing enough following his tougher than expected 12-round unanimous decision against former WBO 140-pound titlist, Chris Algieri (20-2, 8 KOs) last Friday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Although Khan won the fight by wide margins of 117-111 (twice) and 115-113, there was nothing about his performance that would warrant a Khan fight against Floyd Mayweather.
There are other fighters who deserve a fight against Floyd. Namely Danny Garcia, the unified WBC/WBA junior welterweight champion. Garcia beat Khan decisively, via fourth-round knockout in July 2012. Although Khan has won five consecutive fights, Garcia remains undefeated having had tough fights against tough opposition compared to guys Khan has fought in the last three years.
Khan looked sensational against former two-division champion Devon Alexander in December and dominated former WBA welterweight champion Luis Collazo last year. But the guys Khan are facing have been carefully selected and cannot crack an egg with their hardest punch.
Khan admitted that training camp with Virgil Hunter went very well, but when they arrived in New York during fight week the questions about fighting Floyd Mayweather next became an untimely distraction. The pressure of having to look good against Chris Algieri in dazzling fashion became overwhelming.
“It’s one of those things were I’ve been chasing it for a long time,” Khan said. “When you chase a fight sometimes its very hard to focus on who you have in front of you. Then you got everyone saying ‘we thought he was going to be a walk in the park. I’m very happy I didn’t take this fight so lightly because, I could have gotten beaten if I did. So that dream for me would be gone against Floyd. I’m going to let, obviously, my advisor Al Haymon and my team will decide what is next for me.”
Most likely, all fingers point to a showdown with Floyd Mayweather. Khan, of all the fighters on a short list that include Garcia, has the bigger following.
“I really do beleive that styles make fights and that Floyd has that style that will suit me,” Khan said. “I think my last three-four fights at 147 that’s what Floyd wanted to see.I said ‘look, Amir, prove yourself at 147. Have some fights at 147 then we’ll see if we get a fight or not.’”
Since the Olympics, each and every fight Khan has had was televised in England. He has a massive following and whenever Khan fights, especially at home in England, his events does big business. Khan’s fights against Algieri (Brooklyn, NY), Paulie Malignaggi (Madison Square Garden, NY), Zab Judah (Las Vegas), Garcia (Las Vegas), Marcos Rene Maidana (Las Vegas), Lamont Peterson (Washington, D.C.), Luis Collazo (Las Vegas) Devon Alexander (Las Vegas) all occurred here in the United States.
Overall, Khan is 6-2 fighting in America dating back to May 2010.
Khan is talented. He has very good hand speed and throws great combinations. Khan trains hard and is never in bad shape. His defense has improved a lot in recent years, as he was getting hit a lot in fights against Garcia, Peterson, and Maidana for example. Khan isn’t getting hit nearly as much, but when he does get hit with a solid punch, he reverts into a bit of a shell.
“When Khan gets hit, he stops fighting back,” said Virgil Hunter who has been training Khan after he fired Freddie Roach following two consecutive losses to Garcia and Lamont Peterson. If Hunter had to do things differently with Khan following his performance against Algieri he would “move Khan to the U.S. so that he’d have more time to train instead of coming here when he fights.”
As stated before, Khan did well enough to outclass the likes of an Algieri. However, considering Algieri has ZERO amateur boxing fights, and considering Khan, a former two-division world champion with stellar amateur career that included a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, and better professional record, the Bolton, England star should have ran through Algieri with ease last Friday.
Everyone should be talking about how Khan’s improved head-movement, blocking defense, hand speed, and impressive footwork was enough to dismantle the Huntington, Long Island favorite. But instead, everyone is talking about how Khan simply hasn’t done enough in the last five years to warrant a fight against Floyd Mayweather – clearly the best fighter of his generation at age 38.
Khan and his handlers say he has the “hand speed to give Floyd problems and make things uncomfortable for him.”
You need more than just hand-speed to beat Mayweather.
As for Algieri, once again his stock rises in defeat. After he shockingly outpointed Ruslan Prodnikov to claim fortune to the WBO junior welterweight title in June 2014, he was granted a lottery ticket to fight Manny Pacquiao in Macau, China last November. Algieri survived five knockdowns and lost a severe unanimous decision before he was out-boxed by Khan for 12 rounds.
“I did not feel Khan was better than me at all,” said Algieri, who was trained by former WBA middleweight champion John David Jackson. “You asked me before the fight if I thought he was world class. I agreed he was and said I am one of the best fighters in the world.”
To Algieri’s credit, he was a much “tougher-than expected” opponent. Algieri, dating back to his old days fighting at the Paramount Theater in Huntington, NY, came to fight. Algieri, not recognized for having punching power, wobbled Khan’s legs after landing a right hand late in the fight that sent Khan back-peddling in retreat mode.
“We didn’t expect Chris Algieri to come forward like he did,” Khan said. “We thought he was going to back up so we could start putting pressure on him and break him down. Obviously, he showed a lot of heart in there and took a lot of shots and kept coming back. Chris kept coming forward, so we had to change our game plan.”
Kell Brook, not Amir Khan impressive on big stage
Undefeated IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook (35-0, 24 KOs) successfully defended his 147-pound title against Frankie Gavin (22-2, 13 KOs) last Saturday at the O2 World Arena in England. Brook, who is in hot pursuit of an all-England showdown with former unified world champion Amir Khan, was very impressive against Gavin. Brook, unlike Khan in his fight with Algieri, was more than willing to engage with Gavin, as he stopped him in round six.
Brook looked sharp. He didn’t back-peddle. Brook carefully measured Gavin with left-jabs before overpowering him with left and right hooks that were fast and heavy. Brook simply took his time taking Gavin apart. Brook threw lots of left-right, one-two shots, and maintained his balance with every shot he threw. Brook was fast with his hands and light on his feet, as Gavin spent most of the fight either covering up moving backwards, or trying to punch in the clinches.
“I always knew it would be tricky,” Brook said. “I knew it was going to be scrappy. He’s awkward, he’s crafty, he’s smart. I knew I had to take my time, but I knew it was a matter of time until I nailed him. I could see he was tiring and I was landing heavy shots. I was testing my skills out and I got it done. Now I want to move on from this.”
With Khan appear headed toward a fight with Mayweather, Brooks’ immediate future remains bright, but up in the air. Brook has fought in the United States only twice, but in his last outing in America in August 2014, Brook realized his dream of becoming a world champion. He outpointed Shawn Porter for a unanimous decision to claim the IBF 147-pound title.
Brook may have to fight more often here in the U.S. to build his profile and get the bigger fights. Just two weeks ago his fellow countryman James De Gale became the first British-born boxer to an Olympic gold medal and become a world-champion. De Gale outpointed Andre Dirrell in Boston, MA to win the IBF super middleweight championship. Lennox Lewis, born in London did win an Olympic medal, but represented Canada at the 1988 Olympics.