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Algieri: The pressure is on Errol Spence

Errol Spence JrBy Dan Ambrose: #5 WBO welterweight contender Chris Algieri (21-2, 8 KOs) believes the pressure is on #2 IBF Errol Spence Jr. (19-0, 16 KOs) with their upcoming fight on April 16 on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Spence, 25, is seen as the future of the sport, and the fighter that many fans believe will be the replacement for Floyd Mayweather Jr. Even Mayweather sees Spence as the next big star in the 147lb division.

The Algieri fight is the proving grounds for Spence, because it’s the first real test of his still young career. If he can pass this test with flying colors, he’ll lock himself in for a world title shot against IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook in 2017 or perhaps even earlier if Brook is interested in taking the fight earlier than expected.

“This kid wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t a good fighter,” said Algieri. “There’s a lot of pressure on him. It’s a very difficult task to go from prospect to contender. It’s not easy to make that jump. You have to be careful taking big leaps. I believe that this is a huge leap.”

I don’t think Spence is too worried about the pressure on him. He seems confident that he’s going to be able to get past Algieri without too many problems on April 16. The pressure might be more on Algieri, who has lost two out of his last three fights since 2014 Algieri can’t afford to keep losing to 1st tier fighters if he wants to remain a viable name for the top dogs in the division.

Right now, Algieri is being used as a trail horse for the top fighters. That might work on the short term for him, but if he keeps losing over and over, he’s going to wind up as a journeyman level fighter and will likely no longer get the big fights. Somewhere along the line, Algieri needs to win some of these fights against the top dogs in order to remain a usable opponent for them.

“This is a great opportunity for me. It’s another step in my career to get to where I want to be, which is a world title fight,” said Spence. “I have something to prove. I believe I’m one of the top talents in the sport but I have to prove myself in this fight. There are a lot of questions that need answering. April 16 I have to prove myself and I’m ready for it.”

Spence needs to not only beat Algieri, he has to do it in style, and make it look impressive without him struggling. Manny Pacquiao totally dominated Algieri in 2014 in beating him by a 12 round decision. However, top #1 WBC 147lb contender Amir Khan struggled to beat a bulked up Algieri last year in May. The added weight that Algieri had put on made him a tougher fighter.

Algieri’s change of fighting style also made him a more difficult opponent than he’d been in the past. Overnight, Algieri went from being a slick boxer to that of a puncher despite not having any more power than someone like Robert Guerrero. you can argue that Algieri is the new Guerrero of the welterweight division.

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