After getting knocked to the canvas six times in his last bout and exiting the ring with his first professional loss, Chris Algieri is looking to re-establish himself Friday night under a new trainer and fighting at a career-high 147 pounds.
The former 140-pound champion is confident about his chances against Amir Khan when the fighters square off at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a bout being televised on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Now training under John David Jackson, Chris Algieri will face an opponent in Khan who has a perceived advantage in power and speed. But Jackson says his fighter is the one who has the edge going into Friday’s bout.
“I see a lot of flaws in Amir Khan. He fights like he’s a world-class amateur boxer,” Jackson says. “I don’t think [Khan’s trainer Virgil Hunter] had time to convert him into a true professional boxer. The way I’ve trained this kid, we’re going to pull off the upset, if you want to call it that.”
Khan (30-3, 19 KOs) was knocked out in two of his losses, falling in the first round to Breidis Prescott in September 2008 and getting stopped by Danny Garcia in the fourth round in July 2012.
“We’ve seen in his past him being susceptible to left hooks and counter shots,” Algieri says. “He’s been down many times and knocked out twice. We will be looking to test that right from the opening round.”
Algieri (20-1, 8 KOs) was floored six times in losing a unanimous decision to Manny Pacquiao in November in a match that was contested at a catchweight of 144 pounds. He also hit the canvas twice in the first round against Ruslan Provodnikov last June, but he rallied in that bout to win a 12-round split decision at Barclays Center.
“He sustained some damage, but nothing career-ending and hasn't lost anything,” Jackson says. “Chris kept going against the odds, showed the heart of a champion and overcame adversity in both fights."
Jackson took over Algieri’s training in Boca Raton, Florida, in February, replacing co-trainers Keith Trimble and Tim Lane, who still remain as part of Algieri’s team.
“I am going to be a better fighter now since hooking up with Coach JDJ. I learned a lot from the Pacquiao fight, and the work we have put in this camp has been amazing,” Algieri says. “You’re going to see an entirely different fighter on May 29.”
Khan dominated his last two opponents, winning unanimous decisions in 2014 over former titleholders Luis Collazo and Devon Alexander, and returns to New York for the first time since making his American debut with an 11th-round TKO of Paulie Malignaggi in May 2010.
“If Amir Khan gets hit flush by Chris, he might have a flashback to the two knockouts he's suffered,” Jackson says. “Chris may get hurt or knocked down, but guess what? He didn’t get knocked out cold and have to be picked up off of the canvas."
Algieri stands 5-foot-10 to 5-9 for Khan, and his jab, largely absent against Pacquiao, could neutralize Khan’s speed. Jackson believes the added weight will also help Algieri, who will be fighting not far from his native Huntington, New York.
“Chris had to get down to the 144 catchweight for Pacquiao. Going down in weight kind of drained him of his power. But at 147, he’s a bigger, stronger fighter," Jackson says. "Chris would have done a lot better against Pacquiao were it at 147. He’s got great radar for detecting punches, natural reflexes to avoid, evade and get out of the way of shots. We’ve tweaked some things so he’s more defensively sound. It’s my job to tweak his natural skills and make him the better, all-around fighter you will see Friday night.”