Chris Algieri returned to the scene of his greatest triumph one year after upsetting Ruslan Provodnikov for the WBO 140-pound world title by a split decision. But even though Algieri put on by far the most aggressive show of his career, he failed to win the judges over this time in losing a unanimous decision to Amir Khan in a Premier Boxing Champions welterweight fight Friday night at Barclays Center.
Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) was favored 117-111 on the cards of judges Joe Pasquale and Benoit Roussel and 115-113 on the card of Don Ackerman. Greenlawn's Chris Algieri (20-2, 8 KOs) earned a 114-all draw on Newsday's card.
The punch stats from CompuBox reflected a much closer fight with Khan landing at a slightly higher percentage on 218 of 609 shots compared with Algieri's 199 of 703. The power punch totals were 154 of 333 for Khan to 145 of 433 for Algieri, who obviously was the busier fighter.
"I thought I did great pressuring him," Algieri said. "I got my touches in. He definitely didn't like it when I got into his body. I thought I hurt him several times. But Khan is a cagey guy, and he spun off. I guess the judges liked that. I thought the cleaner, harder shots would get more respect."
New trainer John David Jackson, who just began working with Algieri in February, said he wished they had more time together. "We rushed into a big fight," Jackson said. "Chris did a very good job under the circumstances. The scores didn't do him justice.
"Khan was throwing the jab just to survive and convince the judges. Chris had the effective aggression. He didn't get the judges' respect, but he got Khan's respect."
Knowing a victory likely would secure a September fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.. Khan called this a "make-or-break fight for me" ahead of time. When Algieri took an aggressive approach from the opening bell, rocking Khan with a right hook late in the round, the British fighter was caught off guard.
Growing ever bolder in the third, Algieri stayed in front of Khan, driving him back with right-hand power shots. Khan landed a clean left at one point, but Algieri took it and looked like the bigger, stronger man. When Khan landed in the fourth round, Algieri just shook it off and kept moving forward. He was throwing the combinations that were absent against Manny Pacquiao in Macau.
Khan landed some quick combos early in the fifth, and when he went down at one point, referee Mark Nelson quickly ruled no knockdown. In the sixth, Khan altered his approach, getting on his bicycle and backpedaling, stopping now and then to use his speed for quick pot shots.
"I want to show much respect to Chris Algieri," Khan said. "There's a few mistakes I made. I didn't expect him to come forward. I had to go to game plan B, and it worked."
Algieri showed some frustration with Khan's determination to keep his distance in the middle rounds, and there was some swelling under his left eye from Khan's jab. But Algieri found the range again in a strong eighth round.
Khan's best round was the 10th, when he landed a right uppercut that wobbled Algieri and connected with two huge lefts later in the round. Algieri shook it off and staged a remarkable rally in the last two rounds, winning each on one card, but Khan seemed content to trust the judges. They backed him up.
Algieri's new trainer had a different opinion. "In defeat," Jackson said, "Chris came out better than Khan did."