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Errol Spence vs. Chris Algieri this Saturday on NBC

Errol Spence JrBy Dan Ambrose: Unbeaten #2 IBF welterweight contender Errol Spence Jr. (19-0, 16 KOs) will be inside the ring this Saturday night on April 16 against #6 WBO Chris Algieri (21-2, 8 KOs) on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. This is expected to be a mismatch in the eyes of a lot of boxing experts.

Algieri, 31, is little more than a gatekeeper now that he’s moved up to welterweight where he doesn’t have the power to compete against the talented fighters in this division. If Algieri were to diet down, he might be able to continue fighting in the 140lb division, but I think there’s a lack of big names in that division for Algieri to fight.

Algieri is better off fighting at 147 as a gatekeeper type opponent than moving down to 140 and being a gatekeeper down there as well. It’s hard to know where Algieri goes if/when he loses this fight. He’s already lost two out of his last three fights. If he loses this one, it’ll be three out of his last four fights. At some point, Algieri will no longer be a gatekeeper if he keeps losing like this. He’ll have a new designation of that of a journeyman.

For boxing fans/writers that aren’t too familiar with Spence, they see Algieri as having a chance of winning this fight. They think at the very least, Spence will need to go life and death in order to beat Algieri. This is going to be hard on Algieri, because I don’t know what he can do to keep Spence off him. Aligeri might won’t to consider taking a knee or something like he did against Provodnikov if it gets too bad in there.

For fans/writers that are familiar with Spence and Algieri, they see this fight as for what it is, a showcase fight for Spence. He’s going to either blast Algieri out in lightning fashion or giving him a bad beating for 12 rounds.

I won’t be surprised if the referee needs to step in and halt the fight if the beating gets to be too bad. Algieri doesn’t have anything to keep Spence off him, and this is going to be one of those fights where you just wonder how much punishment Algieri can take before his chin eventually gives out on him.

It’s quite likely that Aligieri’s Plan-A in this fight is for him to run around the ring to try and keep from getting bludgeoned into submission. While that may have worked against Ruslan Provodnikov in Aligieri’s controversial 12 round decision win over the Russian fighter on that fight, I don’t think it’s going to work against Spence. He’s got long arms, fast feet, and he knows that you need to hit runners with body shots to take the air out of their tires.

WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham didn’t know that he needed to go to the body to stop runner Gilberto Ramirez last Saturday night. Spence understands what he needs to do to stop Algieri from running on Saturday, and you can expect him to lance him from the distance to make him more stationary.

This is a fight that will technically be a warm-up for the 26-year-old Spence Jr. to get him ready for a world title shot against IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook in 2017. That fight won’t take place this year because Brook just finished beating his IBF mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier by a 2nd round knockout last March. Brook, 29, now has two voluntary defenses to burn up against whoever he pleases. Those title defenses will likely use up the remainder of 2016, and possibly a chunk of the first part of 2017 if Brook comes down with another injury of some kind.

The IBF doesn’t look like they’re playing around though. The last time Brook got injured, they had him fight his mandatory right afterwards so Brook only got one voluntary instead of two. If he gets injured again, we might see that happen again.

This is a very solid card for PBS from top to bottom. Besides the Spence-Algieri fight in the main event, the card has WBO cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki (25-0, 16 KOs) defending his title against former IBF champ Steve Cunningham (28-7-1, 13 KOs). There’s also unbeaten light heavyweight Marcus Browne (17-0, 13 KOs) facing Radivoje Kalajdzic (21-0, 14 KOs) in a 10 round bout.


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