Amir Khan can now start talking about Floyd Mayweather Jr. without regretting his words.
Rumored to be Mayweather’s next opponent in the fall but tight-lipped about him all week, Khan dispatched of a reinvented, newly aggressive Chris Algieri by a unanimous decision Friday night at Barclays Center in an action-packed welterweight bout in front of an announced, mostly pro-Khan crowd of 7,372.
Khan won by scores of 115-113, 117-111 and 117-111 as Huntington’s Algieri shook his head in disbelief and stared blankly at the crowd, believing he had done enough to win.
Khan immediately looked ahead to what could be an intriguing future.
“I think everyone knows Amir Khan wants to fight Floyd Mayweather,” Khan said afterward. “But when you wait for something and hope for something for this long, it can set you back. I didn’t want to look past any fighter, including Chris.”
Despite the loss, it was a redemptive effort for Algieri, who fought with a totally new style crafted by recently hired trainer John David Jackson. Algieri (20-2) had been embarrassed in his last fight by Manny Pacquiao in November, tasting the canvas six times. This time, he rocketed out of his corner for each round and was the aggressor, bobbing and weaving, abandoning his hit-and-move style for something that resembled a bulldozer.
“I thought I hurt him several times but Khan is cagey and he spun off and I guess the judges liked that style tonight,” Algieri said in the ring.
“I thought I pressured him well. I got my touches in. He didn’t like it when I got inside to his body. I thought the cleaner, harder shots would get more respect.”
But Britain’s Khan (31-3) adjusted, peppering Algieri with combinations and nearly closing his left eye midway through the fight while boxing nicely.
In Algieri’s last fight at Barclays, a stunning split-decision victory over slugger Ruslan Provodnikov last June, his right eye had swelled nearly completely shut. But Algieri came out with surprising aggression in the first round, apparently trying to test the chin of Khan, who has been stopped badly twice in his career and is regarded as not taking a very good punch.
Algieri even clipped Khan with a right hand to end the first round that seemed to briefly stun him. “I’ll give Chris a lot of credit,” Khan said. “He came forward more than I thought. He had a big chin.”
Yet Khan continued to land the sharper punches, snapping Algieri’s head back in rounds three and four with a left hook and a straight right. And Khan seemed to have the faster hands as well, unfurling combinations as Algieri was content with landing one big shot.
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