By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Lou DiBella thought very highly of Errol Spence Jr. before Saturday night.
Once Spence steamrolled Chris Algieri at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, the outspoken promoter couldn’t resist placing Spence (20-0, 17 KOs) in the company of the best boxers in the world.
“What he showed [Saturday night] is … I’d put him in the top 10, pound-for-pound, right now,” DiBella said after Spence’s spectacular fifth-round knockout. “That’s how good I think he is. No one ever did that to Algieri. And the combination of speed and power and poise for a young fighter, I mean, he’s left the prospect ranks. Now the winner of Thurman and Porter, Kell Brook, are you gonna put him out of the mix with any of those guys? He might beat all of them. Pacquiao? I’d bet my house right now he’d beat Pacquiao.”
The 26-year-old Spence proved his power isn’t simply the byproduct of smart matchmaking by blowing out Algieri in their NBC main event. The 2012 Olympian from DeSoto, Texas, dropped Algieri once in the fourth round and twice in the fifth, all with left hands, before referee Benjy Estevez stopped their scheduled 12-rounder 48 seconds into the fifth round.
The powerful southpaw also became the first fighter to knock out Algieri (21-3, 8 KOs), a former WBO junior welterweight champion. The 32-year-old Algieri was dropped six times by Pacquiao in their November 2014 fight in Macau, China, but the Huntington, New York, native managed to make it to the final bell in that 12-round bout.
“He walked through Chris,” said DiBella, the official promoter of Saturday’s Premier Boxing Champions card. “No one has ever walked through Chris. Am I surprised by that? I’m surprised by that.
“But I thought this kid was the best prospect in the world. Now I think he’s one of the best fighters in the world. That guy is a freight train. He has incredible poise and ring generalship, and he’s got power. And he’s a young guy. He’s beating these guys like it’s easy.”
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.