People on the East Coast of the US, from 8 to 80, looked at this as the longest winter of their lives, from Boston to Brooklyn, most of ’em have been pleased as punch to see the sun, and feel that delightful trickle of sweat which runs down from your back to the behind.
So it was within that context that many of the boxers who’ll glove up and rumble Friday night in Brooklyn, at Barclays Center, posed for pics under the Brooklyn Bridge on Tuesday afternoon.
Yep, there were game faces on Amir Khan, the Brit star who is in the mix to get a Floyd Mayweather lottery ticket op, and Chris Algieri, the Long Islander tasked with derailing the Khan momentum train. But with the sun blaring down, everyone, really, possessed an extra tick of sunny disposition as they chatted with press about the card, portions of which will run on SPIKE.
Haymon Boxing and DiBella Entertainment, along with Joe DeGuardia, Algieri’s promoter, are putting the event together. Javier Fortuna and Costa Rican star Bryan Vasquez also showed up to hype their title clash, which will support Khan-Algieri. Marcus Browne, the pugilistic pride of Staten Island, along with Teddy Atlas, was present and accounted for, as was Heather Hardy, the first lady of Dibella Entertainment, who scraps Friday night.
Khan, who has a loyal fanbase in England, but also no shortage of bashers, who enjoy seeing him get busted on in the tabloids, has taken some heat for not accepting a challenge from fellow Brit Kell Brook, and instead signing on to meet Algieri. Algieri wants to prove those bashers are just haters and he belongs on the biggest stages…
The NY-based boxer was last seen getting trounced by Manny Pacquiao, but showed not a hint of being gun shy when we chatted Tuesday. He told me that his sessions with new trainer John David Jackson have paid immense dividends. I asked Algieri, boxing’s top avocado advocate, how he beats Khan.
“You put pressure on him, you keep pressure on him, you don’t let him rest,” he told me. “He’s a sprinter, he needs to spring and then rest, and catch his breath, I’m just not going to let him catch his breath.”
The fighter has a new trainer,Sergey Kovalev’s trainer, John David Jackson, who told me that he is bringing out some hidden power in Algieri. Might that be a key to his effort on Friday? “I’ve always had power, we just had to fine-tune it to find it. I’m more comfortable with it, really setting down on my shots, taking my time, moving less…I think that’s going to show up on May 29,” Algieri maintained.
“It’s a fan friendly fight for sure,” he noted, saying that both men throw lots of volume, and now, adding power to the mix, that should make for good watching. “I will get my 21st win and it will be another magical night at the Barclays,” he predicted.
And wait…might the winner get a shot at Floyd Mayweather? “That’s the word on the street!” he said, grinning, that shining sun taking a bit of the edge off the making weight/ticking down to fightnight gameface.
Here is a release which went out following the media session:
Photos From Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment
BROOKLYN (May 26, 2015) – Fight week for Friday’s Premier Boxing Champions on Spike event kicked off today with Amir Khan (30-3, 19 KOs)and Chris Algieri (20-1, 8 KOs) hosting a photo opportunity at Brooklyn Bridge Park before they square-off at Barclays Center on May 29.
Coverage on Spike begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with an exciting showdown between Javier Fortuna (27-0-1, 20 KOs) and Bryan Vasquez (35-1, 18 KOs).
Here is what Khan and Algieri had to say about training camp, each other and more:
“Algieri is a fighter that has a lot of skills and assets. His range and height give him good advantages against opponents but I believe with my speed, movement and style it will be too much for him.
“Each day me and Virgil Hunter are getting stronger and we have built a really good rapport. It takes time to get that but he understands my style even more now and what works for me so we’re only going to keep growing.
“My aim since I was a kid and got into this sport was to be the very best. I fulfilled a dream when I got to the Olympics at 17 and brought back a silver medal. Later I became a world champion and then unified the light-welterweight division. My goal now is to fight the very best at 147 pounds and make my mark on this division too.
“I was away in training camp when my daughter turned one last week. It’s hard to be away from her but as a fighter those are the sacrifices you have to make. Everything I do is for her and I can’t wait to see her and spend time with her after this fight. Her birthday celebrations have been put on hold until after the fight!
“I’m really looking forward to returning to New York and fighting at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. I have good memories of this city because it’s the place where I had my first fight on US soil against Paulie Malignaggi in 2010 and also where I got married. I’m out to make it another good time this weekend.”
“I know that it gets said all the time, but this was truly the best and most intense training camp of my life. Working with John David Jackson has truly been a blessing. He has brought out the best Chris Algieri there is. You are going to see a whole new fighter come Friday night.
“I am excited to be back in New York and excited to show the world what I am really made of on Friday night. We are just a few days away from the fight and I am so anxious to get in there and get to work.
“Amir is a tough fighter there is no doubt about that, but I am very confident in my ability and the game plan that coach has come up with for me.
“You are going to see two proven champions in a high intensity and high level fight, laying everything on the line come Friday night.”
# # #
The Friday, May 29 edition of Premier Boxing Champions on Spike features Amir Khan (30-3, 19 KOs) and Chris Algieri (20-1, 8 KOs) squaring off in a 12-round welterweight battle and the 12-round junior lightweight battle between Javier Fortuna (27-0-1, 20 KOs) and Bryan Vasquez (35-1, 18 KOs).
This event is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Star Boxing with live coverage beginning on Spike at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Readers, talk to me.. Can Algieri spring the upset, bring it at Barclays, as he did last summer, against Ruslan Provodnikov? Weigh in, in our Forum!