By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Errol Spence Jr. clearly is considered the puncher in his fight against Chris Algieri.
Algieri still believes he’ll surprise Spence with his power once the bell rings to start their 12-round welterweight fight Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (NBC; 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT). The former WBO super lightweight champion has just eight knockouts in 23 professional fights (35 percent), but much like Spence’s high knockout ratio (84 percent) Algieri considers those numbers deceiving.
“I want him to feel my power early,” Algieri said before a press conference this week in Manhattan. “I’m not known as a power puncher, but I can hit. And anyone who’s been in the ring with me knows that. So I wanna make sure he knows that early.
“[I did that] against [Amir] Khan and even to an extent against Ruslan [Provodnikov]. I was able to hit him with some big shots that made him kinda be like, ‘All right, I can’t just walk right through this guy, like I expected.’ ”
The 26-year-old Spence, a highly touted prospect from DeSoto, Texas, is listed as a 20-1 favorite over Algieri by numerous Internet sports books. The 32-year-old Algieri, of Huntington, New York, has ignored those long odds and says he will expose several flaws in Spence’s game he detected while watching film of the 2012 Olympian’s professional fights.
“He’s got a lot of holes that the guys he has been in with haven’t been able to capitalize on,” Algieri said. “His style is pretty straight forward. He’s technically very sound; he’s a strong guy. But he pretty much fights everybody the same. He hasn’t had a reason to change up or [fought] anybody to give him any different looks. For the most part, when you watch films of his pro fights it’s mostly just guys in front of him, just going back and forth, and eventually he breaks them down.
“I haven’t seen a lot of guys with a lot of footwork, haven’t seen guys that have any speed, guys that can hurt him. So he hasn’t really been in there with any different looks. And when he has stepped up in class, just even a little bit, you could see there’s a little hesitation on his part. He kinda is not the killer they’re saying he is when he has to kinda deal with a little bit of adversity. It should be interesting to see when he has a lot of adversity in front of him.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.