Picking a winner in Spence Jr vs Algieri doesn’t seem too difficult a challenge at first glance, but there’s plenty to consider. Mainly because this acid test for Errol Spence Jr, one of boxing’s hottest upcoming properties, isn’t your usual ‘prospect vs durable-aging-veteran’ kind of clash. Not in the slightest.
Forgetting who Spence Jr is and what his lofty expectations for the future are, this meeting really is a decent scrap on paper. Spence has looked near-flawless in his unbeaten 19-fight career, but is yet to collide with a solid, proven challenger. He will of course find that in Chris Algieri on Saturday night at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, in a Welterweight matchup scheduled for 12 rounds.
Spence will enter the ring with a perfect 19 wins, 16 knockouts, and Algieri 21 wins, 2 defeats, 8 knockouts.
If you’ve followed the career of Algieri, 32, you may already consider him to be one of boxing’s ‘greatest underdogs’. An underdog because that’s how he’s been viewed prior to the biggest fights of his career, starting with a bid to trump then-WBO champ Ruslan Provodnikov in 2014. Just about everyone wrote off Algieri as a serious challenge, but the New Yorker managed to rally back from two heavy knockdowns to trump Provodnikov on the scorecards.
Algieri then met with Manny Pacquiao a few months later, his underdog label soon proving more than appropriate as he was dropped six times en route to a landslide decision loss. But in defeat, Algieri demonstrated his unbreakable will and desire once again; the fact Algieri managed to even hang in there for twelve rounds is kind of an achievement in itself.
Algieri, refusing to take a tune-up bout, met with Amir Khan last May. Algieri was soundly beaten on the scorecards, but gave the faster, technically superior Khan a tough night. It was competitive, with Algieri’s desire to mix with marquee names still very much alive. Following his second-straight loss, Algieri then had no choice but to face a tune-up. Algieri dropped and outslugged Erick Bone last December, which put a ‘W’ back in the win column.
Algieri’s strengths: adept footwork, above average boxing ability, fast recovery powers, and an iron-will. Now, you could say Algieri’s talent, in terms of boxing smarts and overall ability, pales next to Spence’s. And you’d be absolutely right; Algieri is a good fighter, sure, but he lacks the notable pedigree of this weekend’s opponent. What Algieri does have, however, is experience against world-level opposition on big stages, which is something Spence is yet to get a taste of.
So we now have the makings of a good fight. Spence is looking red-hot coming in, with nine knockouts in his last nine outings, which have included wins over capable operators like Alejandro Barrera, Chris van Heerden, Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas. Let’s get to the prediction…
Spence Jr vs Algieri: Prediction
There’s no doubt in my mind that Spence Jr gets the win. And, in all honesty, the more I think and write about this matchup, I think Spence is likely to be the second man (after Pacquiao) to serve up a beat-down to Algieri, or, even be the first man to stop him. The stoppage is a possibility since Spence, unlike Pacquiao when he fought Algieri, is a very youthful 26. Age isn’t always a major factor going into fights, but when coupled with Spence’s elite repertoire, he could be a nightmare opponent for Algieri.
Hang on…didn’t I state this was a good fight? Yeah, I did. And it is. On paper. In fact, I think Algieri is the perfect test and a natural progression for Spence. But hear me out; while I don’t see Spence Jr vs Algieri being as one-sided as last weekend’s Joshua vs Martin, I do think this is another one of those bouts which is ‘all about levels’. Whatever happens, you’ve got to respect Algieri for taking on another tough fight here.
So Algieri has no chance? Sure he does; I just don’t like the odds at play. The tenacious warrior is one of the toughest SOB’s the sport has to offer, and is capable enough to enjoy his own moments in this encounter (if he can resist the temptation to brawl like he did against Erick Bone). Something tells me Spence is going to adapt quickly and crank up the heat as each round goes by. And that’s what I’m sticking to.
Spence Jr vs Algieri Prediction: Errol Spence Jr beats Chris Algieri via 8th round TKO
What say you, fight fans? Who are you backing in Spence Jr vs Algieri? And how do you see the action unfolding in Spence’s biggest test to date?