A pair of promising junior welterweights take center stage when unbeaten Chris Algieri faces Emanuel Taylor in a 10-round junior welterweight bout headlining ESPN's "Friday Night Fights."
Algieri (18-0, 8 KOs), 29, will be fighting in his backyard of Huntington, N.Y., when he faces Taylor (17-1, 12 KOs) at The Paramount.
The "Pride Of Huntington" enters the bout having won three fights in 2013, highlighted by a thrilling decision over previously undefeated prospect Jose Peralta in February and a victory over former world title contender Mike Arnaoutis in July. A former kickboxing world champion who didn't have an amateur career, Algieri made his professional boxing debut at the age of 23.
Taylor, 23, turned pro in 2009 after a strong amateur career. The native of Baltimore is a five-time national junior Golden Gloves champion and a three-time national PAL champion with an amateur record of 186-26.
He enters Friday's bout on a three-fight win streak, with the last coming in March 2013 by TKO against Victor Cayo. In his previous bout, Taylor knocked out Raymond Serrano last January.
Algieri previously trained at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, Calif., where he sparred with numerous top fighters including Marcos Maidana, Josesito Lopez and Brandon Rios. He prepared for Friday's bout in Las Vegas, where his trainer, Tim Lane, is based. Algieri, a med student with a master's degree in nutrition, is confident yet fully aware of the danger posed by Taylor.
"I think Emanuel Taylor is a good fighter, a strong and tough guy who, like me, is hungry to continue growing," Algieri said. "It will be an attractive fight and I'm sure the fans will enjoy it."
Algieri is smart to take his opponent seriously. Taylor, who has been busy studying video of Algieri, is a strong puncher with good experience despite his age.
"Algieri is in good shape, throws a lot of punches per assault and keeps busy," Taylor said. "But I will go in and do what I do best. I will use the jab. I'll put pressure on him and that pressure will help me win the fight."
The matchup, at least on paper, appears to be very balanced between two fighters in their prime. Even Algieri's 3-inch height advantage doesn't appear likely to bother Taylor.
Algieri looks to work off of his jab and make an impact with punches from the outside. Taylor, meanwhile, relies more on the strength of his puncher power with both hands. He doesn't rely on movement nearly as much as Algieri, but stays aggressive on the inside by landing hard combinations.
In the co-feature, Issouf Kinda (16-1, 6 KOs) and Jeremy Bryan (16-3, 7 KOs) will face off in an eight-round junior welterweight bout. Kinda, who was born in Burkina Faso and lives in New York, had a strong amateur career in Africa. His future looks bright in the division as he looks to rebound from his first loss last May when an injury to his left eye from a head-butt brought an early end to his bout with Chris Howard.