Last April, after Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson had just finished putting on a show in front of a packed house at the Barclays Center in a nationally televised main event, an unusual amount of spectators hung around after the final bell. Several bouts were scheduled to take place after the telecast was over, but one man in particular kept the boxing purists around. That night, Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. knocked out Samuel Vargas in four rounds.
Fast forward a year, and it was Spence in the main event slot, knocking out experienced 147-pounder Chris Algieri in five rounds in front of over 7,000 fans at the Barclays Center on Saturday.
The result never seemed to be in question, as Spence overwhelmed the slower Algieri with blistering speed and thunderous shots to the head and body. Algieri fell to the canvas three times, with the first coming from a crisp left hand from Spence in the fourth round. Spence went back to the well in the next round, dropping Algieri with another crushing left hand. Up, but in serious danger, it was only a matter of time before Algieri dropped for the final time on yet another devastating left from Spence, causing referee Benjy Esteves Jr. to spare Algieri from further punishment. Now 20-0 with seven straight knockouts, Spence was all business in defeating a veteran who had survived 12 rounds with power punchers Ruslan Provodnikov and Manny Pacquiao.
“It meant a lot to get the stoppage,” Spence said to the press after the fight. “I did something Manny Pacquiao couldn’t do, nor Amir Khan. That shows where I’m at in the welterweight division. Everyone wanted to see what I could do against a proven fighter and I blew him out of the water.”
Spence thoroughly outclassed Algieri statistically. Outnumbering Algieri in total punches with a 31-17 percent advantage, Spence was even more dominant in power punches, landing 41 percent. Algieri, who feared being seen as a stepping stone in the fight, looked the part on Saturday.
“He’s a hungry young lion,” Algieri said of Spence post-fight. “He will be a great champion one day. He brought some good stuff tonight. He stayed composed and that was a big part of it. I caught him with some good shots that he definitely felt. He caught me as I was switching in between strategies.”
After proving himself on the main stage, Spence has his sights set across the pond, as he is the mandatory challenger for Kell Brook’s 147-pound IBF belt.
“I want a title fight next,” Spence said. “Hopefully, it’s Kell Brook, I’m his mandatory and I want him.”
Three fights including Spence’s victory were televised on NBC Saturday. In the night’s first bout, cruiserweight titlist Krzysztof Glowacki outclassed a gutsy Steve Cunningham en route to an exciting 12-round unanimous decision victory. Though Cunningham refused to stop coming forward, Glowacki, who was coming off of wrist surgery, tagged him time after time with left hands as his strong Polish fan base cheered him on from the stands. Cunningham was dropped four times, including once as the final bell approached.
“Power and precision is my trademark, Glowacki said. “That’s always been my game. I was a little bit reluctant because of the surgery, but I got more comfortable as the fight went on.”
In other action, heavyweight Marcus Browne scored a controversial split decision win over undefeated challenger Radivoje Kalajdzic. The crowd’s reaction was mixed, but Browne, who dropped once, believed he deserved the win to keep his record unblemished.
“I thought it should have been unanimous,” Browne said. “I feel like he won two rounds at most. Every time he caught me, I always answered back.”
However, the night belonged to Spence, who has rapidly established himself as a potential force in the welterweight division and was able to do so in front of family and friends.
“My family doesn’t get to see my fight live a lot so it was great for my Long Island family to be here and watch me put on a great show,” Spence said. “Seeing the looks on their faces was amazing.”
Email Michael Thompson at [email protected]