If Chris Algieri is apprehensive about his upcoming opponent, 26-year-old Errol Spence, he certainly didn’t show it when speaking at last week’s Premier Boxing Champions press conference in Midtown, Manhattan.
Holding court with the press at Gallagher’s Steakhouse, Algieri had a swagger about him when asked of his April 16 adversary. “You gonna tell me he wasn’t nervous up there?”said Algieri of the duo’s face-off earlier in the afternoon.
Having earned a unanimous-decision victory over Erick Bone in December (after back-to-back losses to elite competition), Algieri balked at the implication of serving as Spence’s gatekeeper.
“I’ve never picked my opponents. Spence hasn’t fought anyone. I don’t think he’s fought a guy who’s tried to win yet. To put me in as a gatekeeper to someone who is untested in real fights isn’t worth talking about,” said Algieri.
While widely regarded as an underdog for this welterweight clash, Algieri will enter the bout with a handful of advantages. Algieri possesses a 1-2 mark against the trio of Ruslan Provodnikov, Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan; three opponents of a distinctly higher caliber than any names on Spence’s resume.
Prior to Spence’s 4-0 2015 campaign, his opponents owned a combined 175-58-14 record. A victory over the battle-tested Algieri would undoubtedly be the biggest coup in Spence’s professional career.
“He’s done all his work against guys who were tailor made for him to beat up,” added Algieri.
“He hasn’t fought a guy with footwork or a guy who can box. It will be a really eye-opening experience for him and a lot of people on April 16.”
Algieri, to his benefit, will have the hometown crowd on his side at Barclays Center. Hailing from Huntington, New York, Algieri hasn’t had to travel out of state for 22 of his 23 professional fights. Spence, a native of DeSoto, Texas who represented the United States at the 2012 Olympics, has competed in a variety of different locations.
“This is my opportunity, and I have to make an example out of Chris Algieri so I can fight the top 147-pound fighters for a world title… Hopefully, it’ll be a one-sided fight.”
While Spence and Algieri each promised to deliver fireworks in their main event showdown, the two welterweights won’t be relied upon to carry the entire weight of the card.
Undefeated light heavyweight prospect Marcus Browne will continue the local trend, as the Staten Island native will compete against “Hot Rod” Radivoje Kalajdzic.
The co-main event will feature bigger men, as Steve “U.S.S.” Cunningham will look to play spoiler against 25-0 WBO champion Krzysztof Glowacki.