One of the most talented and feared young contenders in boxing gets his chance to shine on the big stage—and all he has to do is fight a former champion on his home turf.
Unbeaten 147-pound rising star Errol Spence Jr. is set to take on Chris Algieri on April 16 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a prime-time showdown on NBC. The scheduled 12-round bout pits Spence, a 2012 Olympian, against a veteran Long Island native who’s battled some of the best in the sport.
"I think it’s my moment," Spence said. "This is my showcase fight. This is my first main-event fight on the big stage like this. I think it’s my time to shine. It’s my time to put 147[-pound fighters] on notice that there's a new contender."
Spence’s combination of natural talent and organ-displacing power has been good to the tune of a 19-0 record with 16 knockouts, including six straight stoppages. By the time he and Algieri meet, it will have been just shy of two years since Spence was in a fight that went the distance.
Algieri, meanwhile, is a technician with eight knockouts in his 21 victories. In 2014, Algieri overcame the powerful Ruslan Provodnikov—and two trips to the canvas in the first round—to earn a split decision and a 140-pound world championship. He stepped up to 147 for his next fight against Manny Pacquiao and, despite going down six times, Algieri survived to the final bell, although he experienced his first career loss.
That fight was followed by a return to form against Amir Khan, but Algieri lost a unanimous decision at Barclays even though he performed well, particularly early in the contest. The 31-year-old got back in the win column in December against Erick Bone with a comfortable 10-round decision.
"I think Algieri is going to try to box," Spence said. "His last two fights, especially against Amir Khan, he’s starting to come forward. I’m looking at two different styles, but either way I’m going to be ready."
Spence (19-0, 16 KOs) has been stepping up his level of competition as he's clawed his way up the division. In June he was supposed to fight Roberto Garcia, but Garcia pulled out the week of the bout. Phil Lo Greco stepped in as a late replacement, and Spence put him down in the third round.
The talented 26-year-old Texan returned to action in September with a two-knockdown seventh round against Chris van Heerden before finishing the job in the eighth. Ten weeks later, Spence stopped Alejandro Barrera in five rounds.
Now he has to bring that power to bear on a fighter who’s shown no interest in staying on the canvas.
The stacked card on April 16 doesn’t begin and end with Spence-Algieri, though. Krzysztof Glowacki (25-0, 16 KOs), coming off his Fight of the Year performance in which he upset longtime 200-pound champ Marco Huck with an 11th-round KO, takes on former two-time champion Steve Cunningham (28-7-1, 13 KOs) in his first title defense.
To kick off the NBC broadcast, Spence’s 2012 Olympic teammate Marcus Browne (17-0, 13 KOs) will challenge Radivoje Kalajdzic (21-0, 14 KOs) in a 10-round battle of undefeated 175-pound contenders.
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