Amir Khan believes that he has picked a dangerous opponent in Chris Algieri as the Briton aims to build on his standout victories over Luis Collazo and Devon Alexander in New York this weekend.
The 28 year-old former 140lb world champion battles the ex-kickboxer in search of a 31st career victory and that one performance that he hopes will lead to a September 12 challenge against pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Despite some eyebrows being raised at his choice of foe for Friday night’s bout, Khan is adamant that Algieri poses a real threat to his three-year unbeaten run that stretches back to his knockout loss to Danny Garcia at the Mandalay Bay.
“I’m very excited to fight at the Barclays Center. I’ve been there a few times. I always said that I want to come over here and give New York a huge fight, bring boxing there. I have a big fan base from New York. I’m sure Chris Algieri also has a big fan base there as well. But we’re going to come and make some noise. The fight is going to be on Spike TV, which I’m also excited for,” said Khan.
“Technically I think overall he’s a very good boxer, moves well. He makes a lot of fighters fall short. He’s very skillful. You have to be on your “A” game to beat him.
“I’ve been watching a lot of videos like Provodnikov. Even the Pacquiao fight, there’s some good things he did there. It could be dangerous for me coming into this fight if I’m not on my “A” game. I have to be one step ahead and make sure I don’t make any mistakes. Chris Algieri is a guy that if you make a mistake, he’s going to make you pay for it.
“There’s a lot of people putting this fight down, and I don’t know why. At the end of the day, Chris has won a world title. He’s been in the ring with Pacquiao in his last fight. He’s a very good boxer, moves well, boxes well. I definitely have to be on my “A” game.
“There’s a lot of pressure on me in every fight because they want to see me perform. Obviously there’s always the bigger picture of the other side. At the end of the day I’m still fighting the top guys and I believe Chris is one of the top guys in boxing.
“I can’t go into this fight thinking it’s going to be easy. In boxing you can get beat and, there are always guys who are skillful and can beat you. I have to be that one step ahead. I can’t really take this fight lightly and think it’s going to be easy, lose my fight, then all my dreams are shattered to fight all the big names in boxing. Chris is a very dangerous opponent for me.
“Chris Algieri just came off a win against Provodnikov. I saw it the other day. It was a very good fight. He boxed very smart against a guy who is a good pressure fighter and a big puncher. Then, against Pacquiao, one of the quickest fighters in the world.
“I think if you look at the names of Chris Algieri’s last few opponents and Kell Brook’s last few opponents, the names will speak for themselves.”
Algieri, 31, recovered from two knockdowns in the first round to overcome Provodnikov in his career-best win, although was totally out-fought by Filipino great Pacquiao and is an overwhelming underdog despite Khan’s praise.
It could also be argued that Khan is on a hiding to nothing with this fight unless he can stop the New Yorker at some point in the fight. Whether that would then be enough to entice Mayweather to choose him in the fall is an entirely different story.