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Algieri in tough against Spence

Image: Algieri in tough against SpenceBy Jeff Aranow: #5 WBO Chris Algieri 21-2, 8 KOs) is facing one of his toughest tests in recent memory in fighting unbeaten #2 IBF Errol Spence Jr. (19-0, 16 KOs) in a 12 round fight next month on April 16 on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC. Algieri needs a win in this fight to put himself in a strong position for a world title fight against IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook.

Likewise, if Spence wins, he’ll be the one that will be earning himself a shot to fight for the IBF belt. Algieri has done a complete revamp of his fighting style with trainer John David Jackson. Algieri, 32, is no longer a finesse type of fighter like he was in the past in fights against Manny Pacquiao and Ruslan Provodmikov. He’s now someone who actively looks to engage and apply pressure against his opponents.

That new style worked well for Algieri in his last two fights against Amir Khan and Erick Bone. Algieri still lost the fight to Khan by a 12 round decision last May, but that was only because he failed to throw enough punches to get the nod. It wasn’t because his pressure wasn’t’ working for him. Algieri did a great job with his pressure.

If Algieri could have landed an extra 10 punches per round, then he likely would have won the fight. Algieri was giving Khan too much respect in the last half of the fight to get the win. He needed someone to count punches landed for him and relay that to him in between rounds, because that’s something that might have helped him win the fight.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and now I’ve got it,” said Spence to “I’m finally got with a name and I’m fighting on NBC. I want to make an example out of Algieri so I can fight for a title.”

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Algieri stands in the way of Spence in his title ambitions. Algieri has already been there in holding a title at 140 as the WBO champion. He gave up the belt to fight Manny Pacquiao in 2014, and his luck has been less than good ever since. Algieri lost the fight to Pacquiao, and then was beaten by Amir Khan. Algieri did win his last fight against Erick Bone last December, but that was against a non-top 15 ranked opponent.

Fighting Spence is going to be a lot tougher than Algieri’s last two fights, and it might even be tougher than his fight against Pacquiao was. Spence, 5’9”, is a bigger fighter than Pacquiao, and he appears to have better power in either hand than Pacquiao. Spence is one of those guys that you need to box rather than stand and punch with. If Algieri uses his new fighting style to stand and engage with Spence, then this fight probably won’t last that long. Spence will take Algieri apart systematically.

Algieri likes to throw body shots, and that means he might try and stay in the pocket against Spence in this fight. Spence is a big body puncher as well, and I’m sure he’ll accommodate Algieri if he chooses to throw to the body.

Spence is coming off of a 5th round knockout win against Alejandro Barrera last November. That was Spence’s first opponent that was able to stand in the pocket and hit him with heavy head-snapping shots. However, Barrera wasn’t able to take the big punches that Spence was firing back at him in the fight. That was the difference. Spence could take Barrera’s big shots, but Barrera fell apart completely under the powerful bombardment from Spence. Barrera was knocked down twice in the 5th before the fight was stopped. Barrera showed good power in the fight, and he might even have more power than Algieri.

The Spence Jr. vs. Algieri fight will be taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. A large crowd is expected to see the fight, as Algieri is from New York and has a large fans base in the state.

The undercard fights are as follows:

Krzysztof Glowacki vs. Steve Cunningham
Marcus Browne vs. Radivoje Kalajdzic

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