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Algieri: Spence is taking a huge leap with his career

Errol Spence JrBy Dan Ambrose: Former WBO light welterweight champion Chris Algieri will be battling unbeaten Errol Spence (19-0, 16 KOs) on April 16 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The winner of the fight will become the IBF mandatory challenger to Kell Brook. The loser of the contest will need to work their way back into position to get a title shot.

Algieri, 31, thinks that Spence is making a big step up in this fight, and he wonders whether he’ll be ready to take that step when the two of them get inside the ring on April 16. Up until now, Spence has been carefully matched by his management despite the fact that he fought in the 2012 Olympics for the United States.

Spence could have been moved at a faster pace by his management, but they’ve taken him very slowly and it’s only now that he’s fighting his first real quality opponent. Algieri is a fighter that was brought along slowly as well. He didn’t started getting the big fights until his late 20s, and his success against the top fighters has been mixed to say the least. After Algieri beat Ruslan Provodnikov by a questionable 12 round decision in their fight in 2014, Algieri was then beaten by Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan. Algieri came back from those losses to defeat Erick Bone recently, but that’s not a top level fighter.

“There’s no question the guy [Spence] is good. The kid wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t a damn good fighter,” said Algieri about Spence. “A lot of people are looking to see how he’s going to perform with a guy like me. It’s a very difficult task to go from prospect to contender. Making those jumps is not easy for anyone in their career. You’ve got to be careful taking those big leaps. I do believe that myself and my team believe that this is a huge leap for the Spence camp,” said Algieri.

Spence is 26-years-old, and he’s not a young kid that isn’t ready to be moved. If Spence isn’t able to beat a fighter at Algieri’s level right now, then the chances are that he’s not going to have the talent to make big things happen during his career.

Algieri is the type of opponent that Spence has got to be able to beat and totally dominate at this point if he’s going to be the next big star in the 147lb division that many boxing fans think he’ll be. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has Spence pegged already as the next big thing at welterweight, and there are many others who see big things from him. With the kind of pedigree that Spence has, he should be able to beat Algieri without any problems.

What’s going to be interesting to see is if Spence can defeat Algieri easier than Pacquiao and Khan did in their wins over him. Pacquiao had an easy time beating Algieri in 2014. Khan had to struggle to defeat Algieri last year in May. Khan had prepared for a different version of Algieri than the one that came into the ring in that fight. Algieri had transformed himself from boxer into a slugger for the Khan fight, and that made things difficult for Khan to make adjustments.

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