By Keith Idec
Errol Spence Jr. is genuinely thankful for all the praise he has received throughout the early stages of his professional boxing career.
Everyone from anonymous message-board posters to Floyd Mayweather Jr. himself has predicted great things for the hard-hitting, undefeated welterweight prospect. The powerful southpaw still hasn’t allowed any of the hype to inflate his head.
The 26-year-old Spence is well aware that despite his impressive record (19-0, 16 KOs), he has to prove himself in the ring against a higher level of opposition than he has faced since he made his pro debut in November 2012.
The DeSoto, Texas, native expects that process to begin Saturday night. That’s when the 2012 Olympian will be showcased against former WBO junior welterweight champion Chris Algieri (21-2, 8 KOs) in the main event of an NBC broadcast scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. ET from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“I appreciate it a lot,” Spence told BoxingScene.com. “It’s an honor for people to mention me as the next great boxer. It shows what a lot of people see in me, that I have great skills and a lot of potential. But I have a lot of great people around me, great family and friends who keep me grounded, and just keep my feet on the ground and help me stay focused.
“I don’t really worry about it too much because at the end of the day I still have to prove what people say about me, that I’m the next great boxer. I still have to go in there and prove it. Until you prove it, it’s all speculation.”
Saturday’s telecast will begin with a scheduled 12-round bout that’ll pit Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki (25-0, 16 KOs), the WBO cruiserweight champion, against Steve Cunningham (28-7, 13 KOs, 1 NC), a two-time former cruiserweight champion from Philadelphia.
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.