NEW YORK -- After welterweight star Amir Khan came away with an exciting unanimous decision over Chris Algieri at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, here are five things we learned from Friday's Premier Boxing Champions series doubleheader.
1. Khan wants Mayweather, but Brook is the better fight
The pursuit of a superfight with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather has held Khan's career hostage over the past two years, affecting all aspects of his decision-making. There were times when he appeared to deserve the bout and others when he clearly didn't. But despite making the necessary adjustments to hold off a determined Algieri by scores of 115-113 and 117-111 (twice), the ease with which Khan was hit by clean power shots throughout certainly lowered the confidence of anyone expecting he would give Mayweather a difficult test. With Floyd looking for a marketable September dance partner to close out his monster six-fight deal with Showtime/CBS, Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) very well still may get the call. But the better fight would be Khan facing unbeaten welterweight titlist Kell Brook in an all-England showdown. The fight would be massive overseas and a near pick 'em despite Khan saying in recent months that Brook wasn't on his level. The truth is, Brook very much is.
2. But let's not take too much away from Khan
The native of England began to make the adjustments in Round 5 to halt Algieri's hot start and owned the second half of the fight on all three scorecards. Khan landed 46 percent of his power shots overall, according to CompuBox, and varied his attack as the rounds progressed by alternating between boxer and sniper when appropriate. He was met head-on by a better-than-expected performance from Algieri and had enough to overcome it. If Algieri (20-2, 8 KOs) packed a more powerful punch, would Khan had still been the one with his hand raised at the end of the fight? We'll never know. But Khan did well to lean on his advantages in speed and accuracy when it was needed most, and enjoyed his best round of the fight late in Round 10 when he sat down on his punches and buckled the durable Algieri with a pair of left hands.
3. Algieri acted like he belonged
He's one of social media's most polarizing figures in boxing, with his often irrational confidence and overused buzzwords that have become hashtags. But Algieri backed up every single ounce of self-belief with a gritty, aggressive performance -- the kind that should rightfully silence any remaining "cage" jokes lingering from his six-knockdown defeat to Manny Pacquiao last November. Algieri gets the most out of his ability and clearly maxed himself out against Khan, using his size advantage to aggressively stalk him while nearly matching him in total punches landed.
4. John David Jackson, you the real MVP
Jackson, the former junior middleweight titlist who also trains unified light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev, presented Algieri with an entirely new style and game plan in their first fight together. The results were very impressive, with Algieri setting a tone in the opening round when he momentarily staggered Khan with a looping right hand. Algieri had been open about his regret for the way he fought against Pacquiao under former coach Tim Lane, essentially giving away the first four rounds in hopes of coming on aggressively late. The game plan Algieri employed on Friday, however, was a much better use of his entre skill set, even if he has never been known as a big puncher. Jackson had Algieri aggressively looking to land power shots from the outside along with consistently focusing on the body. Algieri looked like a completely different fighter from the one fans had seen in his two highest-profile bouts to date (against Pacquiao and Ruslan Provodnikov) and much closer to the "master boxer" philosophy he adheres to.
5. Fortuna-Vasquez was the perfect TV fight
Javier Fortuna and Bryan Vasquez let their hands go for the majority of the 12 rounds on Friday in a battle for a vacant 130-pound title. It wasn't the prettiest fight, but with alternating pockets of action it was extremely fun at times. Fortuna sat down on his punches and stood toe-to-toe with Vasquez early before switching gears and outboxing him over the second half of the fight to take home a unanimous decision (116-112, 117-111 twice). Neither fighter was likely known by any casual fans tuning in to the PBC on this night, but they both came to win with something tangible (albeit a secondary alphabet trinket) at stake. This is what TV openers are all about. Let's hope we see more of the same.