By Jake Donovan
In a bout that could have major implications down the road in the welterweight division, Amir Khan and Chris Algieri both made weigh for their headlining act Friday evening at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Khan tipped the scales at 146.4 lbs.; Algieri came in slightly lighter at 146.2 lbs. for his second straight welterweight bout.
The outcome of the evening could potentially factor into the next—and possibly last-ever—opponent for Floyd Mayweather Jr., who insists that September 12 will mark the final fight of his legendary career.
Khan (30-3, 19KOs) has been hot in pursuit of such a showdown, and was believed to be a front-runner for each of Mayweather's last two Cinco de Mayo ring appearances.
The closest that the former 140 lb. champ has come to landing such an assignment has been his being placed in the chief support of Mayweather's first win over Marcos Maidana last May. Khan cruised past Luis Collazo on the undercard, and followed up the win with a decisive yet competitive win over Devon Alexander last December.
Shortly following his victory over Alexander, rumors began to swirl of Khan high among the list of candidates to have faced Mayweather earlier this month. Of course, such talks died down the moment it became a distinct possibility—and eventual reality—that Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao would collide in a superfight more than five years in the making.
Instead, the 28-year old Brit soldiers on, focused on a standout performance this weekend before worrying about the future.
For Algieri (20-1, 8KOs), Friday evening represents a chance to remove the bad taste left behind from his landslide loss to Pacquiao last November, in which he was dropped six times and at no point competitive in their Pay-Per-View headliner from Macau.
The dismal performance was a sour end to an otherwise breakout campaign in 2014. The fighting pride of Long Island turned heads with a clear-cut win over Emmanuel Taylor last February, a victory that led to a showdown with then-140 lb. titlist Ruslan Provodnikov.
Algieri survived two knockdowns in the opening round to outbox Provodnikov and deliver one of the year's biggest upsets in taking a split decision to win his first title. The bout took place at Barclays Center, where Algieri returns in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle.
In the evening’s co-feature, Bryan Vasquez and Javier Fortuna square off for a vacant junior lightweight title.
The belt was vacated due to Vasquez’ inability to make weight prior to his eventual 9th round stoppage of Sergio ‘Yeyo’ Thompson last December. This time around, it was his opponent who struggled mightily at the scales, al though both fighters eventually made weight.
Vasquez (34-1, 18KOs) came in at 129 lbs. in hopes of becoming a three-time secondary titlist. Fortuna, a former secondary titlist at featherweight, came in at the 130 lb. divisional limit. Efforts to hit the mark required his stripping down to his birthday suit, and granted several tries after initially weighing in over the mark, creating a bizarre situation at the scales.
Fortuna (27-0-1, 20KOs) moved up in weight in 2013 after having to leave his featherweight belt at the scales. The unbeaten southpaw from Dominican Republic enjoyed a brief title stay before missing weight prior to his event 1st round knockout win over Miguel Zaumudio.
Six fights have followed, four outright in the junior lightweight division. Included among the lot was a 5th round knockout over Abner Cotto in a strange fight last November, in which Fortuna was dropped but eventually forced Cotto—a second cousin to World middleweight king Miguel Cotto—to surrender in the 5th round.
Vasquez hasn’t fought since his aforementioned stoppage win over Thompson.
Both bouts air live on Spike TV (Friday, 9:00 p.m. ET).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox