By: William Holmes
On Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York a former opponent of Manny Pacquiao will face off against a possible future foe for Floyd Mayweather Jr. , as Amir Khan and Chris Algieiri face off in the welterweight division in the main event of a PBC on Spike boxing telecast.
Paulie Malignaggi was originally scheduled to face Danny O’Connor in the opening bout of the telecast but had to withdraw due to a severe cut above his eye that occurred during training camp. However, boxing fans shouldn’t be too disappointed as a very good scrap between Bryan Vasquez and Javier Fortuna for the vacant WBA Regular Junior Lightweight Title will be televised instead.
A win for Amir Khan or Chris Algieri should lead to lucrative fights in the near future, but Khan is chasing the ultimate prize for professional boxers today… a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The following is a preview of both televised bouts.
Javier Fortuna (27-0-1) vs. Bryan Vasquez (35-1); WBA Junior Lightweight Title
This is actually a much better fight than the originally planned televised bout between Paulie Malignaggi and Danny O’Connor.
Photos: Ed Diller/ DiBella Entertainment
Both Fortuna and Vasquez are in their physical primes, with Vasquez being twenty seven years old and Fortuna being twenty five. Both boxers have had successful amateur careers. Fortuna was a member of the Dominican National Team and won a Pan American Silver Medal. Vasquez’s home country of Costa Rica doesn’t have the boxing history as other Latin American countries but he was a national champion as an amateur in Costa Rica.
They are similar in height but Fortuna will have about a three inch reach advantage on his opponent.
Vasquez has stopped eighteen of his opponents including four of his past five wins. His lone loss came to Takashi Uchiyama by TKO in the eighth round in Japan. His notable victories include Sergio Thompson, Jose Felix Jr., Rene Gonzalez, Alan Herrera, and he won the interim WBA World Super Featherweight Title with a TKO victory over Jorge Lacierva in 2012. However, it should be noted that Vasquez has spent most of his career fighting in Costa Rica.
Fortuna has been promoted by Sampson Boxing for the past few years and is a former interim WBA World Featherweight champion. Fortuna lost that title on the scales but hasn’t lost since. He has twenty stoppages on his resumse including four of his past five fights. His notable victories include Abner Cotto, Juan Antonio Rodriguez, Miguel Zamudio, Patrick Hyland, and Cristobal Cruz.
This should be a good and entertaining bout, but a slight edge has to be given to Fortuna for having the more impressive amateur background as well as having faced the tougher opposition at this point in their careers. Fortuna has also been considerably more active than Vasquez and was able to fight four times in 2014.
Fortuna should win, but Vasquez has the ability to make it a close fight.
Amir Khan (30-3) vs. Chris Algieri (20-1); Welterweight Division
Very few boxers have had the hype that Amir Khan had when he first turned professional.
He was born in England but has Pakistani roots and is very popular worldwide. He competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics and won the silver medal for Britain. He had an amateur record of 101-9.
Algieri didn’t have the amateur success in boxing that Khan did, but he was a successful kick boxer and won several kickboxing titles as a professional. He retired undefeated as a kick boxer before choosing to switch to professional boxing.
Khan will be giving up about an inch and a half in height and one inch in reach to Algieri, but he will be three years younger than Algieri who is thirty one. Khan clearly has the faster hands and more power in his punches. Khan has stopped nineteen of his opponents while Algieri has only stopped eight. However, Khan has only stopped one opponent in his past five fights, the same number as Algieri.
Khan has faced the better opposition throughout his entire career in comparison to Algieri, though Algieri’s last two fights were against tough opposition.
Khan has defeated the likes of Devon Alexander, Luis Collazo, Julio Diaz, Carlos Molina, Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana, Andriy Kotelnik, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Paulie Malignaggi. He suffered a shocking first round knockout to Breidis Prescott in 2008 and lost two fights in a row to Lamont Peterson and to Danny Garcia in 2011 and 2012. Khan looks brilliant in spurts, but his chin can be tested and he doesn’t do very well when his opponent presses the action.
Algieri’s most notable victories include Ruslan Provodnikov and Emmanuel Taylor but his list of defeated opponents before that are bare thin. He was routed by Manny Pacquiao in his last fight in November but he was able to go the distance.
Algieri is a good boxer who can do well against brawlers such as Ruslan Provodnikov, but against pure boxers such as Amir Khan he doesn’t have much of a chance. Khan is faster, younger, stronger, and more technically sound than Algieri and he should win convincingly on Friday night.
Amir Khan and Chris Algieri spoke to the media Wednesday:
“I really believe that I have the movement, the skills and the technique to beat Chris Algieri and look spectacular doing it.
“Algieri has been in the ring with big names before so we know that’s not going to scare him and he won’t get nervous. I’m going to be ready for anything he brings to the table.
“This is going to be an entertaining fight because of our styles. We both like to throw a lot of punches and there will be a lot of movement. This will be a more skillful fight and I think the fans will enjoy what they see.
“I’ve always wanted to fight here at Barclays Center and I really am excited to put on a great performance for all the New Yorkers.
“Virgil Hunter has been great for me as a fighter and he’s helped me really understand the sport of boxing. I’ve worked on my technique and my defense and really just everything.
“Training camp for me has been really good. I’m focused on my opponent and I’m not going to make any mistakes. It’s going to be a great performance from me on Friday.”
“This is going to be a great fight with two fast-paced boxers. It’s going to be very exciting for everyone watching.
“Working down in Florida with John David Jackson really refreshed a lot of things in boxing for me. I got to see new things and try new things. I learned a lot.
“The only thing that matters is proving something to myself and I do feel like I have to prove something. I wasn’t happy with my last performance at all. I know I belong here at the elite level and it’s time for me to prove it.
“I like to challenge myself and this is a great opportunity. I’m ready for this, I will challenge anybody in the welterweight division.
“I feel very comfortable being here in New York and I’m happy to be back at Barclays Center.