Just 17 months ago, Chris Algieri survived six knockdowns against future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao. But Algieri’s chin proved no match for the power of up-and-coming welterweight contender Errol Spence Saturday night at Barclays Center.
Southpaw Spence dropped Algieri three times with left-hand shots, including twice in the fifth round before the fight was stopped by TKO 48 seconds into the round. It was the first time Algieri (21-3, 8 KOs) ever had been stopped, and it was his third loss in his past four fights, including losses to Pacquiao and Amir Khan by unanimous decisions.
For Spence (20-0, 17 KOs), it was a coming-out party in the main event of the Premier Boxing Champions on NBC show. The former 2012 Olympian Spence has been on the fast track toward a shot against IBF champion Kell Brook, and he came into the fight as a prohibitive 1/20 favorite over the more experienced Algieri.
Algieri trailed on all three cards at the time of the stoppage, winning one round on one card. CompuBox stats showed Spence landing 96 of 311 punches, including 73 of 178 power punches, compared to Algieri’s totals of 36 of 114 punches and 33 of 90 power shots.
“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’m at in the welterweight division. Everyone wanted to see what I could do against a proven fighter and I blew him out of the water.”
The first round was a slow feeling out process with Spence landing the only meaningful body punches. Apparently, that was enough for Spence to gain assurance that he was stronger than Algieri. In the second round, Spence pinned Algieri on the ropes and unleashed a flurry of shots with both hands. The Greenlawn fighter hung tough and tried to pursue a body attack, but he ran into a left that came straight down the pipe near the end of the round.
The third round was controlled by Spence, and Algieri began to show some discoloration around his right eye that was mauled two years ago when he won the WBO super lightweight title in an upset over Ruslan Provodnikov. But there would be no repeat performance of that inspiring comeback on this night.
Fighting in an efficient, compact style, Spence recognized Algieri was trying to come in low in the fourth round, and he delivered a short left hand on the button. Algieri staggered backward two steps before his legs crumbled beneath him and he went to one knee. Before the round was over, Algieri had to survive another onslaught with his back on the ropes.”
“He kept ducking and I met him with the left hook,” Spence said. “We saw that when he fought Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, and he would look at the floor when he came up and I would catch him with a blind punch. Those are the ones that hurt him the most.”
The fifth was all Spence. Early on, he clobbered Algieri with a looping left hook that sent the 32-year-old fighter stumbling backward before tumbling onto the seat of his pants with his head propped up by the ropes. Algieri got to his feet, but he went down a third time from another hard left hand before referee Benjy Esteves waved the fight over.
Algieri said he felt a tweak in his knee when it buckled on the first knockdown. He didn’t want to blame the ending on a possible injury, though. “I don’t want to take anything away from this young hungry lion, he did a great job. I trained really hard for this fight. I want to talk to my family and talk to my team. It’s back to the drawing board. I still feel like I’m getting better and better. I just need to settle down and do my homework.”
While Algieri goes back to the drawing board, Spence wants to head to the launchpad to top-level fights for the rest of his career. “I think I’m the number one contender for Kell Brook,” Spence said. “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 welterweight champions. I want them all.”