No one really knows what’s next for any fighter when it comes to the sport of boxing. With that in mind, though, it’s okay at times to make what some might regard as sweeping predictions. Indeed, it’s hard to see Chris Algieri rising to the top of the welterweight division at this point. After teaming up with John David Jackson and looking good against Amir Khan last year, it was worth wondering if the man would make out well for himself post-Pacquiao. And while it’s unquestionable Algieri looked better with Jackson in his corner than he did without him, it’s also impossible to deny that the Long Islander was taken to school by rising star Errol Spence Jr at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center last night.
For Spence was able to do what no one else could and that’s take Algieri out within the distance. Provodnikov dropped the nutrition-expert-cum-boxer twice, Pacquiao more times than anyone could count, yet neither could finish off this most determined of pugs. Spence, on the other hand, was not only able to take Algieri completely out of the contest, he was able to do so relatively early in the proceedings.
Truth be told, Spence controlled the entire affair. In all honesty, it might have been hard for anyone to logically give Algieri any of the four rounds leading up to the fifth and final chapter. Although Algieri was able to move impressively, especially in the footwork department, Texas’ own Spence was able to catch his man. And those times that Spence did catch Algieri with vicious body shots and clean left hooks clearly counted for something, for Algieri was sent to the canvas in the fourth. Algieri kept fighting, but it was all for naught. Spence dropped his man again in the fifth and seconds later polished his game opponent off for good.
Lots of factors go in to determining the result of a prize fight, but it was clearly power that told the tale on Saturday – Spence’s abundance of power and Algieri’s relative lack of it. For Algieri seemed to be employing his own kind of rope-a-dope strategy early on, in the hope Spence might eventually burn out. If that was indeed Algieri’s strategy, it clearly had its faults. Hadn’t the man employed essentially the same kind of plan against Pacquiao close to a year and a half earlier? Hadn’t the results been nearly as disastrous then? Holding back may have worked for Ali against Foreman, but it clearly hasn’t worked for Algieri against anyone of note.
Still, it would be ridiculous to come down hard on Algieri at this point. The man’s done okay for himself in the ring when you think about it. He’s won a world title, has appeared in the main event on a pay-per-view card and has battled some of the biggest names in the business. The truth now is that he simply wasn’t on Spence’s level. Nor is he likely on the level of most top welterweights. But there’s no shame in that.
Onto Spence. He’s the real thing, my friends. Sure, there’s some flaws to his game – Algieri was able to be somewhat effective in brief moments, after all – but this truly is a guy to watch out for. In other words, it might be time to scrub away those collective questions marks. He may not be the best welterweight in the world right now, but he’s quickly on his way to getting there. Will the young man end up being stopped dead in his tracks? It’s hard to say, but what’s obvious is the fact that Spence now wants a piece of title-holder Kell Brook. To the winners go the spoils. — Sean Crose