By: Hans Themistode
Chris Algieri has heard most of the names. From WBC belt holder Jermall Charlo to former super middleweight champion David Benavidez. All of those names, and several others, are given a very good chance at beating Canelo Alvarez should they ever meet in the ring.
Not mentioned amongst those names, is unified welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. The 147 pounder has always been lauded for his skills. But truth be told, many have wondered how in the world the benign knockout artist even fights at his current weight.
Over the years, Spence Jr. has mentioned the possibility of moving up to the middleweight division in order to land a shot against Alvarez. While Spence Jr. is on virtually every pound-for-pound list, practically no one gives him much of a chance against the Mexican native.
Simply put, Spence Jr. is just too small.
In the opinion of Algieri though, he doesn’t exactly agree with those opinions. In his point of view, Spence Jr. actually has all of the ingredients to pull off the upset.
“He’s got a shot. A good one,” said Algieri during an interview with BoxingInsider.com. “Spence is fast, he’s also a lot more technical than people give him credit for. He also pressures nonstop. With Spence, he won’t be a big guy but he is more than big enough to make 160.”
Having shared the ring with him, Algieri knows exactly how good Spence Jr. actually is. In April of 2016, Algieri faced the Dallas native at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. While he boxed well early on, the pressure Algieri alluded to from Spence Jr. caught up to him as he was dropped in round four and hit the canvas two more times in the following round before the referee waved things off completely.
In the mind of Algieri, it isn’t just that Spence Jr. hits incredibly hard. It’s more so about the style in which he fights. For the past several years, Alvarez has faced much bigger fighters. From the likes of former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev to former unified super middleweight champion Callum Smith who held a ridiculous seven-inch height and eight-inch reach advantage.
None of their physical attributes prevented Alvarez from picking them apart. But while most have sat back in awe at Alvarez for taking on those challenges, Algieri views things a bit differently.
“With the big guys, they throw shots then rest then throw shots then rest. That’s why Canelo likes fighting bigger guys. With Spence, he won’t be a big guy but he is more than big enough to make 160.”
Still, even with Algieri tipping his cap to Spence Jr., he’s still giving the slight edge to Alvarez.
“I would still favor Canelo but Spence has a really good shot at winning. He’s a terrific fighter.”
By: Sean Crose
“The prodigal son will return home for the first time in over 4 years as former World Champion Chris Algieri returns to The Paramount on November 30th, making his long-awaited comeback at the venue where it all started.” With those words, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing announced the return of Chris Algieri, who once held the WBO junior welterweight title before moving on to fight such top names as Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, and Errol Spence. New York’s Algieri lost those major fights (which all occurred after he rose up to welterweight), then stayed out of the ring for two and a half years.
Now, with long time issues with DeGuardia and company settled, the Long Islander is set to return to The Paramount, the place where he first earned his reputation as a fighter to watch. “I can’t express how happy I am to be back,” Algieri is quoted as saying. “It has been a long time coming and it is the perfect time to step back into the sport. I am looking forward to returning to the junior welterweight division and win another world title. There are a lot of good fights for me down the line and I can’t wait to be back in the mix on the world stage.”
“I look forward to Chris’ return,” said DeGuardia, “especially in the junior welterweight division, where he has never lost a fight. I am confident we will get him another world title fight very soon”. Algieri surprised many people when he got off the mat and went on to win a decision against the feared Ruslan Provodnikov back in 2014. This led to a major payday with Pacquiao, who thoroughly bested Algieri when they met in Macao later that same year. Algieri went on to battle Khan gamely before being wiped out by Spence in 2016.
Since that time, Algieri has gone on to earn a reputation as a nutritionist who works with other fighters, particularly middleweight heavy hitter Daniel Jacobs. “Algieri decided a couple of months ago that he was ready to make a comeback,” Star Boxing announced, “and re-signed a promotional agreement with his long-time promoter Joe DeGuardia and Star Boxing. The two agreed it was time to return to the roots of Algieri’s career and give back to the loyal Long Island fans.” Algieri has made it clear he’s particularly happy to return to the Paramount in Huntington, New York, where he has won at least eight of his professional bouts.
“I am thrilled to return to the Paramount where my last successful title run began,” he said. “The growth of my fanbase has always been an organically grown, grass roots approach; so it feels only right to give back to my hometown fans in this way”.
By Tyson Bruce
Much to the dismay of boxing fans, especially those from Great Britain, Bolton Welterweight Amir “King” Khan rejected a potential mega-fight with domestic rival Kell Brook in favour of a match-up with former junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri. The bout will take place May 30th and will be televised by Spike TV as part of Al Haymon’s new PBC boxing series.
Khan justified his decision to fight Algieri by stating that he is a “class A fighter” with “decent power” and that a win over an “A-class opponent” would pave the way to a bout with Mayweather or Pacquaio. That assessment comes across as somewhat questionable, given that Algieri is coming off an absolute thrashing at the hands of Pacquiao, where he probably didn’t win a single round, and has just eight career knockouts.
Khan has become almost singularly obsessed with getting into the ring with one of the two pound for pound stars in the last several years, even while coming off a pair of devastating defeats in 2011 and 2012.
Khan must be given credit in his career for being able to overcome devastating losses and never losing to the self-belief that is required to be a world-class fighter. Very few fighters recover from a knockout loss like Khan suffered to Danny Garcia and continue to function on a world-class level. After a dismal stretch of losses and poor performances from 2011-2013, Khan rebounded with one of best years of his boxing career in 2014, including a dominant performance over top-ten rated Devon Alexander.
That being said, boxing is meritocracy and Khan simply has not earned the right to publically call out for a Mayweather fight and then whine about it on Twitter when it doesn’t happen. Khan has just two meaningful wins in almost four years—a seventh round stoppage of Zab Judah in 2014 and the points win over Alexander last year—yet seems puzzled that his crusade for ‘pound for glory’ is often met with ridicule and scorn.
Khan is certainly one of the best welterweights in the world and may possess the fastest hands in the entire sport, one of the most crucial assets for dominance at the world level, but he still hasn’t convinced people he has overcame his most dramatic flaw: his chin.
In a recent work-out presser interview, when former opponent Danny Garcia was asked about the possibility of Khan fighting Miguel Cotto at a catch weight, he responded simply by commenting, “Khan doesn’t do well when he fights punchers”.
While Khan won over many skeptics just in the sheer dominance of his victory over Alexander, the fight fit into a pattern of how Khan’s career has always gone.
If you put a boxer or a speedster in the ring with Khan he will win big nearly every time because his hand and foot speed is that superior. His best victories, aside from his brush with death against Marcos Maidana, have come over pure boxers like Paul Malignaggi, Andriy Kotelnik, and Zab Judah. Khan has problems when things get physical, because his lack of punch resistance causes him to get frantic and desperate. Even Lamont Peterson, who is nobody’s idea of Ernie Shavers, was able to rattle Khan just by being physically assertive.
Khan’s most recent comeback, the post-Garcia period if you will, has been a carefully managed strategy of selecting opponents that play to Khan’s strengths without exposing him to real danger. Luis Callazo was considered a worthy opponent because he had recently KO’d Victor Ortiz, which belied the fact that Callazo hasn’t been a world-class fighter for years. As good as Devon Alexander has proven himself to be, his styl–a pure boxer with limited punching power–was tailor-made for Khan.
In order to justify a match against Pacquiao or Mayweather, Khan needs to beat a welterweight with a big punch to prove that he has found a way to adapt.
A fight against Brook would certainly achieve that, and would also earn the Briton many more millions and be a much higher profile event than the half sold out arena in America that will meet him for Algieri.
However, Khan has always seemed offended and annoyed that he is being pressured to fight another British fighter. His territory is being threatened and he’s defending it not by fighting, but by degrading Brook’s accomplishments and merit, a PR tactic in boxing that has killed or delayed more big fights that most of us would like to admit.
Brook derided Khan on a recent BBC 5 interview, stating, “If someone said to me you can get five million quid, a world title, fight at Wembley with a fight that every fan wants to see, it’s a no-brainer for me.
“I’m world champion, I’m calling him out, we want the fight, there’s a world title and a bagful of money and it doesn’t make sense that he’s fighting this guy [Algieri] who’s bringing nothing to the table.”
A fight against the likes of a Tim Bradley, another proposed bout recently turned down by Khan, would be ideal, because Bradley is a modest puncher and it would allow the public to directly compare his performance to that of Pacquiao’s. If he won the bout more convincingly, it would be a legitimate bargaining token for Khan, something he doesn’t have now.
In contrast, it’s basically impossible for Khan to do better than the 120-102 routing Pacquiao gave Algieri, who proved, if anything, that Algieri is not on the elite level.
Khan’s refusal to stop insulting Brook, who hasn’t really slung any mud other than demanding a fight, is quickly turning him from hero to heel.
Nothing ticks off fans more than guys not taking fights that make all the sense in the world. Brook is a title-holder, a more accomplished welterweight than Khan, with an almost equal fan base, and would likely accept less money to make the fight a reality.
It’s hard to imagine better terms for Khan. But then again, if fighting Algieri instead of a killer like Brook got you to the exact same spot, as it almost surely will for Khan, wouldn’t you take it?