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McGuigan impressed with Errol Spence Jr

Errol Spence Jr(Photo credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment) By Scott Gilfoid: Former world champion Barry McGuigan is very impressed with unbeaten talent Errol Spence Jr. (19-0, 16 KOs), who will be in action tonight in an IBF welterweight eliminator bout against Chris Algieri (21-2, 8 KOs) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

McGuigan says he thinks Spence reminds him a lot of boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard. McGuigan believes that Spence could get Algieri out of there tonight to do what Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan couldn’t do in stopping the former WBO 140lb champion inside the distance.

McGuigan is also feels that Spence will be catching IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook when he’s going downward. Brook is about to turn 30, and he’s not the young lion like Spence. If Brook doesn’t vacate his IBF 147lb title, he’s going to need to face Spence by 2017 if Spence wins the IBF eliminator tonight. Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn has talked about him moving up in weight to 154lbs after the next two fights, which just happens to be the same time that Spence would be able to face Brook.

Does this mean that Brook will be looking to duck the Spence fight by vacating his IBF title to move up in weight to safer waters at junior middleweight? You tell me. Brook has two voluntary defenses right now to burn through before he faces the Spence question in 2017. My prediction is Brook will vacate his IBF title after his two voluntary defenses if he doesn’t lose to one or both of those opponents.

“Chris Algieri has been beaten twice but neither Amir Khan nor Manny Pacquaio could stop him,” said McGuigan in his column at the “I believe Spence will move that story on, the only consideration in this IBF eliminator for Kell Brook’s crown is when. My concern for Brook should the two meet, would be one of timing. Spence is on the way up and Brook is not getting any younger.”

Oh boy, McGuigan is really slathering the compliments all over Spence, isn’t he?

McGuigan feels that Spence will give Algieri problem with his ability to land hard shots from the outside. Algieri likes to fight on the outside in order to use his height and reach against his mostly shorter opponents. The 5’10” Algieri will have just a half inch height advantage over the 5’9 ½” Spence tonight, but their reach will be the same.

This is going to be a real problem for Algieri because he’s always been the taller fighter in his bouts, and this has enabled him to jab and peck away at his shorter opponents from the safety of the outside. He won’t be able to do that night without getting brained by Spence. McGuigan is correct in saying that Spence will have the upper hand from the outside.

“He [Spence] reminds me in so many ways of a young Sugar Ray Leonard. He does not have all Leonard’s qualities, of course,” said McGuigan. “Importantly he [Algieri] likes to box at distance, which plays into the hands of Spence, who likes to hit opponents on the end of his shots. By that I mean he generates power at full length, and he is improving up close, too.”

Spence isn’t unbeatable though. We how one fighter in particular, Serik Sapiyev of Kazakhstan, seemed to have his number when the two of them were in the amateur ranks. Sapiyev twice beat Spence in defeating him in 2011 and 2012. However, Sapiyev was 27 and 28 at the time and in his prime as a fighter. In contrast, Spence was just 21 and 22. Even then, Spence was really rocking Sapiyev with huge shots to the head by the third round of both of those fights, and he had him plenty worried and looking punch drunk from his shots. I have no doubts that had Sapiyev turned pro, Spence would annihilate him in a 12 round fight without any problems. Sapiyev went on to win a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics. I kind of reminds me of a smaller, harder hitting version of James DeGale.

Spence will likely be looking to take Algieri’s head off tonight with every punch he throws. I think Algieri will do okay for three or four rounds, but then power is going to start wearing him down by the 6th round. I don’t see Algieri being able to make it through the last six rounds of the contest. I think the referee will either need to step in to safe Algieri after he gets rocked or his corner will throw in the white towel of surrender to save him from getting hurt.

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