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Algieri not happy with gatekeeper label

Errol Spence JrBy Dan Ambrose: Former WBO light welterweight champion Chris Algieri (21-2, 8 KOs) will be facing one of the most dangerous welterweights in the division in nine days from now in undefeated #2 IBF Errol Spence Jr. (19-0, 16 KOs) in their fight on April 16 on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Algieri, 32, is seen as a gatekeeper type of fighter at 147 at this point in his career despite the fact that he was a world champion at 140 just two years ago. Two losses to Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao has changed the public’s perception of Algieri. He’s lost two out of his last three fights.

His only win during the last two years was against Erick Bone last year in December. Algieri is now facing a guy that could do a better job on him than Pacquiao and Khan did when he gets inside the ring with the hard hitting 26-year-old Spence on 4/16.

Algieri doesn’t believe he’s going to get beaten, as he thinks he’s going to be able to use his superior experience to hand Spenbce his first defeat of his career. However, the odds of that happening are very slim because Spence is an even bigger puncher than Pacquiao, and we saw what he did to Algieri in their fight in November 2014.

“To label me as a gatekeeper against someone who hasn’t made real fights isn’t really a fair distinction,” said Algieri. “Spence hasn’t fought anyone. I don’t think he’s fought a guy who’s tried to win.”

Spence has fought guys that have tried to win. The problem is that Spence had too much punching power for them to hang with him for long. Algieri doesn’t have the kind of punching power that Spence’s last opponent Alejandro Barrera had going for him in his fight against Spence last November.

Barrera could only make it to the 5th round before he was stopped in that contest. But before Barrera was stopped, he showed respectable punching power. It doesn’t matter how much power that Algieri has, he would still need to be able to handle Spence’s considerable power, and I’m not sure that he’s going to be able to do that. He hits too hard.

“He’s done all his work against guys who were tailor made for him to beat up,” said Algieri. “He hasn’t fought a guy with footwork or a guy who can box. He hasn’t fought many guys who were in there to win. It will be a really eye-opening experience for him and a lot of people on April 16.”

If Algieri chooses to box for 12 rounds, then he’s not going to win the fight because Spence will win based on aggression. However, Spence has the kind of footwork and long arms that will enable him to catch up to Algieri and still land some big bombs.

Spence is mainly a body puncher, which means that if Algieri chooses to try and run from him, he’s going to get hit with a lot of crushing body shots that are going to take the legs out of him sooner or later. Algieri will probably try and use his footwork, but it might do little more than delay the inevitable.

Sooner or later, Algieri is going to need to fight Spence whether he wants to or not. If he tries to move all night long, he’s going to quickly fall behind and wind up in a hopeless situation late in the fight where he’ll need a knockout in order to get back into the fight. The odds of the light hitting Algieri knocking Spence out are slim and none. If he tries to go after Spence late in the fight, then he’ll likely get stopped.

“Going from prospect to contender is a leap, but you have to go through it. There’s a lot expected from me. There are a lot of questions that need answering. This is what I have to do to get into that top-five level,” said Spence to premierboxingchampions.com.

Spence was ready to step it up last year, but his management chose to keep moving him slowly. Spence had the talent to make this move a long time ago. When you look at the welterweight division right now, it’s pretty weak. The guys that are at the top in the division are very beatable.

Spence’s management are moving him to go after IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook, but there’s a high chance that Brook will vacate his title rather than face Spence after he gets done with his next two voluntary defenses. If Brook does choose to fight Spence, it’s going to be a very difficult fight for Brook because his style of fighting is tailor made for Spence.

“I believe that I’m one of the top talents in the sport,” says Spence. “But I have something to prove, and I have to prove myself in this fight.”


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