Five months after his humbling six-knockdown loss to Manny Pacquiao, Greenlawn's Chris Algieri is back with a new trainer and a new chance to prove he belongs on boxing's world stage.
Rather than work his way back slowly, Algieri will jump back into the fire against former champion Amir 'King' Khan in a welterweight match headlining a Premier Boxing Champions card on May 29 at Barclays Center. The fight will be televised on Spike TV.
Khan (30-3, 19 KOs) was in line to fight either Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. until they agreed to fight each other. He put out a premature announcement more than a week ago saying he would fight Algieri (20-1, 8 KOs) next, but the bout took more time to complete.
Algieri, who admittedly was frustrated by the wait to return to the ring, was thrilled when the deal was done. "I think it's a great fight," Algieri said. "It's a fight I've always seen myself having, and I'm happy it's here.
"I think it's going to be an exciting fight. You've got two guys with good skills who are in shape. It's going to be a fast-paced fight. It's the kind of fight that will be a war of attrition, where we're going to be testing each other in every way. It's going to be a good-looking fight . . . At the end of the day, I'm looking to put some pressure on him."
Originally, Algieri expected to retain his WBO World super-lightweight title, but that belt was stripped after he moved up to fight Pacquiao as a welterweight. Khan also is a former 140-pound WBA and IBF champion, but since back-to-back losses to Lamont Peterson in 2011 and a fourth-round TKO by Danny Garcia the following year, he has moved up to 147, scoring a lopsided unanimous decision in his last fight over former champion Devon Alexander in December.
"He's a tested champion," Algieri said of Khan. "He's been in there with a lot of good fighters and has recently moved up to 147 himself. He's been down and out. He's come back. It's almost like a crossroads fight . . . I fought tooth and nail to get to that level, and I'm going to do the same now to stay there."
Algieri shot up through the ranks in improbable fashion with upset wins last year against Emanuel Taylor and a split-decision over Ruslan Provodnikov for the IBF 140-pound title last June at Barclays. But his inexperience showed against the southpaw Pacquiao, although he proved his courage in getting up six times to go the distance.
Since then, Algieri has switched to Florida-based trainer John David Jackson. Bellmore co-trainer Keith Trimble will continue to work the corner, and co-trainer Tim Lane will remain with the team in a lesser role.
"We match really well," Algieri said of Jackson. "He put in a lot of work even before I got down there, studying tapes of my past fights. When I came to his camp, he had things to show me on day No. 1. So, it's been a real eye-opening experience, and it's been fun just learning."