Heading into his 147-pound showdown against Errol Spence Jr., Chris Algieri claimed that his undefeated opponent had been coddled and would “feel my power early.” Algieri’s trainer John David Jackson took it a step further, stating that Spence had been “spoon-fed his opponents” leading up to Saturday’s clash.
Turns out it was Algieri who was forced to eat his words—not to mention a bunch of punches from his “coddled” foe—as Spence put on a flawless performance, scoring three knockdowns on his way to a fifth-round TKO win at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
In earning his seventh consecutive stoppage victory, Errol Spence Jr. (20-0, 17 KOs) became the first fighter to knock out Chris Algieri (21-3, 8 KOs). What’s more, he showed why many respected boxing insiders have proclaimed him the heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the 147-pound class.
“I thought it was going to be a later knockout to tell you the truth, but Algieri is a tough fighter and I thank him for the opportunity,” Spence said. “I was prepared for everything he came with. Everyone wanted to see what I could do against a proven fighter, and I blew him out of the water.”
The comments by Algieri and his trainer were obvious direct shots at the caliber of competition Spence had faced on his way up the 147-pound ranks. While Algieri had been in the ring against proven fighters such as the legendary Manny Pacquiao and former 140-pound champions Amir Khan and Ruslan Provodnikov, Spence had yet to truly be tested.
Many thought his test would come Saturday night—even Spence admitted heading into the bout that Algieri would be the best opponent he’s faced to date. But he also hinted that, by the end of the fight, it might just look like business as usual, saying “I don’t know if that means he will necessarily be my toughest fight once it’s all said and done.”
Much like a lot of the punches he threw at Algieri, Spence hit the mark with that prediction.
Looking as if he was extra motivated by Algieri and Jackson’s pre-fight words, Spence came out with a vengeance from the opening bell. The 26-year-old southpaw pinned Algieri on the ropes during the second and third rounds, unleashing a searing double-handed barrage of hooks, crosses and uppercuts to both the head and body.
Then in the fourth round, the accumulation of Spence’s heavy shots finally took its toll, as Algieri went down on a knee after getting clobbered with a left cross. The lifelong resident of Huntington, New York, made it to his feet and finished the round, but early in the fifth, Spence hit the button with another left that sent Algieri reeling backward and onto his backside.
As he fell awkwardly, Algieri appeared to injure his right leg, wincing and grabbing at his right knee while sitting on the canvas. Again, though, the 32-year-old made it to his feet, and again, Spence went on the attack, this time finishing the job with a brutal, head-swiveling left cross.
By the time Algieri crumpled to the canvas, referee Benjy Esteves stepped in and waved an end to the bout at the 48-second mark.
That moment was significant in that Spence had vowed to do what Pacquiao—who dropped Algieri six times back in November 2014 but couldn’t finish him—and Khan failed to do: keep Algieri from making it to the finish line.
“It meant a lot to get the stoppage,” Spence said. “I did something Manny Pacquiao couldn’t do, nor Amir Khan. That shows where I am in the welterweight division.”
Indeed, by putting away Algieri as quickly and impressively as he did, Spence made a loud and clear statement that he’s a force to be dealt with in the loaded 147-pound division.
The question, of course, is how eager those at the top of the weight class—which includes such names as Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Kell Brook—will be to step in the ring against Spence, especially given his performance Saturday night.
“What this kid did to Chris Algieri was incredible, and I don’t think anyone is going to want to fight him, while he’s not afraid to fight anyone,” veteran promoter Lou DiBella said after the bout. “Errol Spence has the highest ceiling of any young talent that I’ve seen in years. For his age, he is mind-blowingly talented.”
Spence has said all along that he understands that boxing is a process and he has to bide his time to get a coveted title shot. But that doesn’t mean the Desoto, Texas, resident isn’t itching to get his hands on one of the marquee guys at 147.
“I think I’m the No. 1 contender for Kell Brook,” Spence said, referring to the unbeaten English fighter who defended his title for a third time with a second-round stoppage of Kevin Bizier on March 26. “Kell Brook knows what time it is. We gotta get in the ring and fight.
“I want Danny Garcia and all the rest of the 147-pound champions. I want them all.”
If nothing else, Spence made a believer of at least one person Saturday night.
“He’s a hungry young lion,” Algieri said. “He will be a great champion one day.”
For all pre- and post-fight coverage of Spence vs Algieri, head over to our fight page.