After battering Chris Algieri (21-3, 8 KOs) black and blue like a pair of Penny’s, it’s apparent Errol Spence, Jr. (20-0, 17 KOs) is the future of the welterweight division. Four rounds of repeated right hands to the body by Spence opened up the finishing head shots in round five that rang out like a .357 through the Barclays Center. “I thought it was going to be a later knockout to tell you the truth, but Algieri is a tough fighter and I thank him for the opportunity,” Spence confessed.
Cheers of “man down! man down!” could be heard from a small contingent of his supporters sitting ringside each time his opponent, Algieri, was plastered by his left hand and sent to the canvas. Although Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao both defeated Algieri already, neither found a way to stop him. In fact, the fifth-round TKO was the first time Algieri hadn’t finished a fight on his feet.
So what’s next for the Texas native after a show-stopping TKO performance on NBC? “(I want) Danny Garcia and all the rest of the welterweight champions. I want them all,” Spence said. Due to the political landscape of boxing, it’s likely his future rivals will be PBC-affiliated Al Haymon signees, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. #TeamHaymon is brimming with welterweight talent and two of his fighters (Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia) are titleholders.
A title shot seems like the next natural step but Haymon will have to sweeten the pot for his opponent because a fight with Spence is an acutely high risk with very little reward. Opposing fighters like Thurman and Garcia want to see Spence prove himself by beating more notable names before stepping in the ring with him, and rightfully so.
Typically, a fighter earns his way to a title shot by going through a veteran and former champion or accepting an offer well below his market value. Spence, not one to f**k tradition up, just defeated Algieri, a former champion at 140, and will probably be required to knock off one more name in order to get his opportunity at a belt. His resume may not bear a laundry list of household names, but his reputation is outstanding, which makes him toxic as a contender.
Floyd Mayweather received his first title shot in his 18th fight where he lifted the WBC belt off 32 year-old Genaro Hernández. At the time, Hernandez was 38-1-1 and had little incentive to take on a dangerous young fighter like Mayweather. However, that was an era where champions were less reluctant to test themselves, and were more concerned with being the highest ranked, not highest paid.
Spence may not be able to get one of the current PBC titleholders in the ring with him unless he’s willing to forfeit the lion’s share of a purse, which is what many contenders in the past had to do in order to lure a champion into the ring. His other option is across the pond, IBF welterweight champion, Kell Brook.
The last meaningful fight for Brook was against Shawn Porter in August of 2014 and he’s so desperate for a fight against a name people recognize, he’s willing to fight GGG at a catch weight. Only time will tell if Brook wants recognition so bad that he’d be willing to fight a title-less savage like Spence. Going into Brook’s backyard in the UK is a huge risk for Spence because the hostile crowd won’t be in his favor and the judges may not care for him either.
It’s a situation that comes with high risk and high reward, which is favorable in comparison to what Spence’s opponents are faced with when they step in the ring with him. Fighters take calculated risks every time they throw a punch, and fighting Brook is definitely a chance worth taking. “I think I’m the number one contender for Kell Brook. Kell Brook knows what time it is. We gotta get in the ring and fight,” said Spence.
If it’s #ManDown in the UK and Spence walks away in possession of the IBF belt, the other PBC titleholders will have no choice but to square off with him.