Connect with us

Worldwide

Superstar (?) Spence, Algieri and Co. Presser Report

Published

on

By Michael Woods

The A side, on paper, don’t try and get his foe to agree with that designation, has a face which would make your guess “he’s a boxer for a living” about 116th on your list of guesses if you were quizzed on who Houstonian Errol Spence is.

Southern charm in his demeanor with press, dimples which lend him a disarming look, Spence looked something unlike what central casting might put up if asked to furnish “possible welterweight superstar.”

He was in NYC to hype his April 16 tangle at Barclays Center against Chris Algieri, another guy with an atypical look for a fighter. A fetching reporter asked the Long Islander why being blessed with such a handsome visage he chose to fight, and I guess she wasn’t aware of his history and hadn’t been listening to him speak during his time at the mic at Gallagher’s steakhouse on 52nd St in Manhattan.

He chose to not care if his features get a bit muddied because he’s a fighter, he seeks and accepts fights which test him to the utmost. Humans, a rare batch, are built like that.

The promoter presiding over the Wednesday session, which touched on the three bouts put together by PBC which will run on NBC (one of five to run this year) primetime, is Lou DiBella.

He spoke glowingly of this feature tussle as well as the support bouts. The top support clash pits one of the game’s easiest to root for hitters, Pennsylvanian Steve Cunningham, taking on rugged Pole Krystof Glowacki, a rumbler who you’d pick to be by your side in an alley fight.

Cunningham as ever amiable and humble told press that he’s happy to hop down from the heavyweight division and promised he’d be making all folks 40 years old envious with his showing in Brooklyn. “I have trouble keeping weight on,” he told us, chuckling, while tucking into a Caesar salad. (BTW, he can enjoy 39 until July.)

His trainer, Naazim Richardson, a true throwback sage from the isle of Philly, told me that he will be reminding his guy every day where he is. That’s the cruiserweight division and he wants him to act it. No trying to prove something by acting like he knows he’s taken bombs from heavyweights like Tyson Fury and Amir Mansour. “It’s going to be about ring generalship,” Richardson said.

Cunningham is a throwback in the way he espouses values. He told us that he thinks Antonio Tarver should be kicked out of boxing for testing positive for a PED following their 2015 bout. And he said values made his wife decide to not allow rude wording on the custom phone cases she sells.

Spence didn’t talk smack but told me he definitely thinks he is on the superstar track. He is 26 and knows that PBC has talent galore stacked at 147, so he will be able to prove that point, starting April 16, and going on from there.

Algieri, age 32, told us that this is new territory for Spence, and the headlining status and press barrage and all that takes some getting used to. “I’ve been there. He hasn’t,” he said. “He’s been in with guys who haven’t even tried to win.”

Staten Islander Marcus Browne gets, on paper, the stiffest test of his career to date in taking on Florida resident “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic. This bout, DiBella said, represents a step up for both lads.

No smack talk of note was dispensed and several present recalled that wasn’t the case the last time a boxing presser was held there. On that day, Teams Danny Garcia and Zab Judah rumbled a bit before their scheduled tango. Today was infinitely more polite.

Tix start at $25 for the Barclays event, the first of a once a month run until August.

Here is the release which went out after the presser:
NEW YORK (March 9. 2016) – Undefeated rising star Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. and former world champion Chris Algieri went face-to-face for the first time Wednesday at a press conference at Gallagher’s Steakhouse in Manhattan as they discussed their Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC showdown taking place Saturday, April 16 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Also in attendance Wednesday was former world champion Steve “U.S.S.” Cunningham, who takes on cruiserweight world champion Krzysztof Glowacki, and undefeated 2012 U.S. Olympian “Sir” Marcus Browne, who faces undefeated Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with Star Boxing, start at $25, not including applicable fees, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.barclayscenter.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.

Here is what the participants had to say Wednesday:

ERROL SPENCE JR.

“A lot of people have been asking me when I was going to fight top competition. When you look good in the ring, nobody wants to fight you. Established guys don’t want to fight you, so I want to thank Chris Algieri for taking this fight.

“It would be a major statement if I could stop Chris Algieri. He’s been in there with hard-punchers so I’m looking to make a statement about my power. Especially for me being a young contender, it would just show everything I have in my arsenal and where I’m going in my career.

“I’ve never envisioned it this way, but my team always told me to be patient and everything will come on time. Now I’m here in the NBC main event.

“This is a very important fight. Chris Algieri is a tough fighter. All of his fights have been exciting and we’re looking to make it exciting and one-sided. I’m looking to dominate the whole fight.

“From watching Algieri, I know he has good footwork and likes to box. Recently it seems like he’s become more aggressive and standing his ground a bit more. I’m ready for either style.

“I don’t really care if I get tested. I want to perform and show my skill set. I’m going to answers a lot of questions people have in the ring.

“I know I’ll be the next big star in boxing. I just have to stay grounded, do what I’ve been doing and listen to my team. The sky is the limit.

“I want a world title this year. I want the winner of the Kell Brook vs. Kevin Bizier fight. I would definitely go to the UK. I’d fight any of the champions, but I can’t look past Chris Algieri. I’m 100 percent focused on him.

“My career is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. For me, fighting on this platform and getting my story out is a good start. It’s about what I do in the ring, I have to look spectacular and get the knockouts.

“Everybody should tune-in or get your tickets. This is going to be a fight for the history books.”

CHRIS ALGIERI

“It’s exciting to be back in the main event on the world stage. I take every fight very seriously and I prepare my best each time. It’s just another day at the office.

“I’m looking forward to working extremely hard and being as prepared as possible. I’ve never picked who I step in the ring with. My job is to prepare, fight and win. On April 16 that is exactly what I’m going to do.

“I’m honored to be on a card of this magnitude. I’m looking forward to seeing everybody come out for a great night of fights.

“Every fight going forward is about winning and moving towards a welterweight title. Every fight is one step closer to getting my opportunity. This win over Errol Spence Jr. will propel me into fights with the biggest names.

“I have to beat everybody who is in front of me. That’s what this fight is. Spence is just another guy in the welterweight division. I’ve always said I’m willing to fight the top guys in my weight class and whether he’s the top guy now or will be one day, it doesn’t matter.

“I’m looked at as the veteran here, but I’m a young veteran. I have a ton of experience and I think that will propel me for the rest of my career.

“Spence hasn’t fought anyone. I don’t think he’s fought a guy who’s tried to win. To label me as a gatekeeper against someone who hasn’t made real fights isn’t really a fair distinction.

“He’s done all his work against guys who were tailor made for him to beat up. He hasn’t fought a guy with footwork or a guy who can box. He hasn’t fought many guys who were in there to win. It will be a really eye-opening experience for him and a lot of people on April 16.

“I’ve had some of my best performances at Barclays Center and it’s an honor to be back. I feel that arena brings the best out of me.”

STEVE CUNNINGHAM

“I won both of my world titles overseas. Guys like Glowacki grew up watching me fight in their home countries. He’s frothing at the mouth to get at me. Sometimes the meal that you want isn’t a good one for you. I’m going to upset his stomach really good.

“It’s going to be a good fight. I come intelligent and I come to fight. I’m going to make other 40-year-olds jealous when everyone sees the work that I do. I’m going to be prepared mentally, spiritually and physically.

“I’m prepared to fight in any environment. My first title defense was in Marco Huck’s hometown. I went into the lion’s den. It’s all experience. I have a great range of experience and knowledge that helps me in the ring.

“It’s great to be on a card with guys like Errol Spence Jr. and Chris Algieri. I’ve seen these guys grind. I watched Errol in the Olympics and I’ve fought on the same undercards as Algieri. It’s awesome to be a part of this.

“A fight is a fight. Age doesn’t matter to me. Only thing that really means something is the opponent. When you get in there with your plan, the opponent matters less as you break him down.

“When I first started, my motivation was to make money for my family. My motivation is always changing though. I believe I was born to do this. I love working out and pushing my mind and body to the brink. Most of all, I just love challenges.

“I’m is a cruiserweight. My camps are always like seven or eight weeks, but I’m always in the gym. My team is great at making sure I’m ready and peaking at fight week.

“I’m training in Philadelphia and living in Pittsburgh. There’s great work in Philadelphia and that’s why we’re staying there this time. It’s the perfect place to train for this fight.”

MARCUS BROWNE

“There’s never been a champion from Staten Island and that is the goal. I want to become the first from Staten Island.

“I’m always happy to be back at Barclays Center. I’m on a great card and I’m ready to breakout and move beyond the prospect label. I’m ready to display my talents against an undefeated guy.

“Come April 16 I’m going to do what I do best. I really want my hands to do the talking on fight night.

“I’m motivated because I came from nothing. I’m hungry to be a world champion, but not just a world champion. I want to be a legend.

“We’re mostly training in Staten Island but we’ll go to California to train at The Rock Gym in Carson, California. We’re going to get some really good work out there.

“It’s very important to look good, but I’m not putting any extra pressure on myself. We will look good on April 16 though.

“This is boxing. This is what it takes. You have to beat guys like this to get to the next level. This has been a long time coming.

“I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in. I haven’t made it yet and I won’t tell myself that I did. I can’t let myself get comfortable.

“I’m not worried about what my opponent is bringing. I’m just worried about what I bring into the ring.”

LOU DIBELLA, President of DiBella Entertainment

“This is a great show and I’m really proud to be promoting it. These are three real fights with their own terrific storylines.

“Rising super star Errol Spence Jr. is as talented of a kid as I’ve seen come on the scene in 10 years or so. That’s how much talent I believe he has. That being said, he hasn’t faced a guy like Chris Algieri. Who is a guy who can do anything in the ring and is a former world champion.

“The fact that Errol is stepping up and that Chris is willing to face Errol says a lot about both guys. These are two confident champions. The winner of this fight will make big money very quickly.

“Glowacki is coming off a Fight of the Year candidate bout and now he’s going to have to face a man who was a cruiserweight champion himself, in Steve Cunningham.

“Marcus Browne, an undefeated Olympian at light heavyweight, will face a strong undefeated fighter in ‘Hot Rod’ Kalajdzic. Marcus is confident in his road to superstardom and hot rod will try to derail that train.

“These are three good competitive fights for the fans.”

BRETT YORMARK, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment

“On the heels of a spectacular night in January, we return for another great night at Barclays Center. This will make our 17th boxing show. We are the home of professional boxing now.

“It’s our second PBC on NBC event and I’m thrilled to have Errol and Chris in our ring. We expect a lot of Long Islanders to take the LIRR to Barclays Center.

“Marcus Browne has the most fights at Barclays Center. Even though he’s from Staten Island, we consider him an honorary Brooklynite.”

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

Sponsors