Errol Spence Jr., Chris Algieri, Krzysztof Glowacki, Steve Cunningham, Marcus Browne & Radivoje Kalajdzic Media Conference Call & Transcript
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Errol Spence Jr., Chris Algieri, Krzysztof Glowacki, Steve Cunningham, Marcus Browne & Radivoje Kalajdzic
Media Conference Call Replay & Transcript
Thanks for joining us on this call. We wanted to give all the press an opportunity to speak to all six fighters that will be televised on NBC on Saturday night April 16. The TV fights will begin at 8:30 pm ET/5:30 pm PT This event’s taking place at the beautiful Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with Star Boxing and sponsored by Corona, start at $25, and they can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. And they’re also available at the American Express Box Office at the Barclays Center.
Thanks all for joining us. We’re going to get started with the co-feature of the evening, which is the WBO Cruiserweight Championship between champion Krzysztof Głowacki and Steve “U.S.S.” Cunningham. Głowacki made a big splash with his fight of the year performance against Marco Huck when he spectacularly knocking Huck out in the 11th round to capture the world title after having been knocked down himself and rising like the Undertaker does in WWE promotions. It was really one of the more remarkable turnarounds I’ve seen in a world title fight.
You can expect the 29-year-old Głowacki to receive heavy support on April 16 from the large Polish population in Brooklyn as he fights in the U.S. for the second time. He had a sensational record of 103-9 as an amateur before turning pro in 2008. Polish Peter is on the line and he’ll function as Krzysztof’s translator. I’m going to let the champion Krzysztof Głowacki say a few words first.
First of all I am so happy I’m able to fight again in the United States. I am expecting to deliver another great fight. I hope both Polish and American fans are going to be watching me and supporting me, because I want to deliver a great fight. I have more than 110 sparring rounds already behind me, with very tough fighters. I’m perfectly healthy and absolutely ready to come to the United States and defend my title.
Thank you Krzysztof. Steve “U.S.S.” Cunningham, I’m not going to say a lot about him this time. Enough has been said. He’s one of the most known commodities in boxing. Two-time World Cruiserweight Champion, 39-years-old but with a lot left in the tank. Trained by brother Naazim Richardson, a veteran of the Navy. This is absolutely a very, very strong challenge to Głowacki’s title and a fight that I expect to be extremely entertaining.
I’m very excited to have another opportunity and world title. Coming back down to cruiserweight wasn’t difficult at all. I was a cruiserweight who was fighting heavyweight and I’m just ready. I’m always ready, I’m always prepared, I’m always in gym. We are preparing for Głowacki. He’s a formidable foe. He made, like everybody’s seen, he made a big splash in his American debut and people are going to want to see him live up to that.
We want to get together, we want to make some fireworks, and my goal is to be three-time world champion and please the fans and television. So there we have it. I’m going back in, and this is not new territory for me but it’s a new opponent, so we take him very seriously and we don’t look past anything.
I was just wondering what you thought of Głowacki’s performance in his last fight. What did you think about what he did against Huck in that fight?
It was impressive. You got a guy who went down early in the fight against Marco Huck as a champion that he was working on breaking a record that fight. So he had a lot of steam behind him. Marco Huck is a formidable champion. He will be remembered as a great cruiserweight champion. But Głowacki stepped up. He got up off the canvas and he just stayed the course. And he stopped the champion. That’s how you beat the champion. A lot of people want to see champions beat like that, and Głowacki gave everybody what they wanted.
So like I said, he’s nothing to look down on because we hadn’t seen him fight in America before. We always take every opponent seriously. So we’re going to come prepared.
Steve, how much respect do you have for a guy like that who got off the deck against a guy he wasn’t supposed to beat? You’ve been in that position yourself and done that. So what do you think of that?
I think he’s awesome. I’ve been in that position myself so I know the motivation and drive he had behind him in order to go through and fight a guy like Marco Huck in front of so many fans from him home country here in America. So he was driven. That fan base drives him. I know he’ll be driven on the 16th, but I’m driven also.
Like I said, this isn’t new territory to me. I’ve been there. I fought in Poland twice. I fought in Germany numerous times, South Africa too. So I’m really not used to fighting at home, but when I fight at Barclays Center I will be closer to home but it’s going to still feel like Poland because those fans, his fans are going to engulf that place and then frame it with cheers for their guy.
Like I said, it’s not new to us, it’s not new territory but a new opponent, little things we tweak up in camp, and come April 16 it’s time to get in there and show it off.
Steve, when you were fighting at heavyweight, did you always think that you would give cruiserweight another try and go back down?
No I didn’t. I never thought I’d be heavyweight. My initial goal was to stay cruiserweight and do my best and do my part to put the cruiserweight division on the map here in America. Because, as you guys know, when I was a cruiserweight champion, there was no attention, no wealth, no television, no anything for cruiserweight.
So my goal was to try to help this cruiserweight division on the theme, be the best cruiserweight and make good fights, but it’s like I got elbowed out of the cruiserweight division. Even with a belt I couldn’t unify it. Then I lost my belt and these guys wouldn’t fight me even then. They still knew how I lost my belt wasn’t right. So the only way I could go was up. I couldn’t make light heavyweight so heavyweight was it.
But after heavyweight, after I was there and I was able to compete and these guys became national USBA champion and I felt I got robbed a few times from stopping me from getting that number one spot, I felt I was going to stay heavyweight. But then we realized that hey these judges, they’re not understanding what you’re doing to these big guys. They like their heavyweights to knock guys out, to throw a couple punches and somebody’s on the ground.
You’ve got Steve Cunningham in there running punches. I’m throwing 700, 800 punches a fight, moving, flipping, countering and that’s not a heavyweight to them. So the team, my wife, my manager, we all sat down and just like, “Hey let’s just go, let’s do the cruiserweight thing now and make it happen from there.”
Do you feel you’re done with heavyweight at this point?
No I’m not. I still think there’s a possibility, because you guys know I can go back and compete with those big guys. I floored the heavyweight world champion right now with one punch. That’s Tyson Fury. So I can compete. Even though he won that fight, I can compete with these guys. I beat some big guys, some good, some heavier guys, some good heavyweight fighters.
When we win this fight and we beat this man, which could give me a quick shoot right to some titles, right to a title fight at heavyweight. But, that’s always a possibility but the major thing is beating Głowacki April 16.
Krzysztof, after the fight with Marco Huck, the great comeback against him, were you at all disappointed that you had to stay out as long as he did because my understanding is you had some injuries that you suffered in that fight?
It was very frustrating. I wanted to be back sooner than later but my doctors were telling me that this was a 7-millimeter break in my hand so I couldn’t do anything. I was trying to do everything. I was running, I was spending some time in the gym, but obviously not boxing. But maybe there was a silver lining in disguise because it makes me so unbelievably hungry to actually be back right now. So this is my time and this time away made me even more hungry than usual. I want to thank everyone for getting me the opportunity to fight again in the states.
I would like to know from Krzysztof which hand did he break and was it only his hand? I also had thought maybe there was an elbow injury involved. Was it just the hand and which hand was it?
So this injury actually was a left wrist injury. It actually happened last week of sparring before Marco Huck. Part of the bone was missing, 7-millimeters of bone, which has to be transplanted again into his left wrist after the fight. So this was the extent of the injury, and this was – it looked very bad for a long time but now everything is perfectly well. So it actually happened before Marco Huck fight.
How big of a deal was it back in Poland? How well received were you when you went home? Are you a big national hero now?
Yes the difference was unbelievable. When I arrived in Poland in the airport there were people with flowers. There was a police escort to my hometown. Everybody was so happy. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be a world champion. I want to have this feeling again coming back after this fight. I want to say that before, I was relatively unknown but it happened and it changes everything unbelievably right now. People are smiling at me. On the streets, they approach me. They want to talk boxing. It’s unbelievable and a great feeling to have.
The Marcus Brown vs. “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic fight will be a 10-round light heavyweight fight. Radivoje Kalajdzic is 21-0 with 14 KOs, fights out of St. Petersburg, Florida, originally from Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Turned pro in 2011. He’s fighting in New York for the first time. He has wins over Donta Woods, Otis Griffin, Lionel Thompson, Rayco Saunders, Gilberto Domingos, and Fabio Garrido. He had a good amateur career and he’s an accomplished young light heavyweight.
This is also going to be the most difficult fight and the biggest fight of “Hot Rod’s” career, because he’s taking on a terrific fighter in 25-year-old southpaw, 2012 U.S. Olympian and three-time Golden Glove champion Marcus Browne. Marcus is 17-0 with 13 KOs. Turned pro in 2012. Eight of his thirteen knockouts have come in the first round and he’ll be fighting at Barclays Center for I think a record 11th time. He had four impressive wins in 2015 over Aaron Pryor Jr, Cornelius White, former world champion Gabriel Campillo, and Francisco Sierra.
I’ll start with “Hot Rod”. Despite his very difficult to pronounce name, Radivoje Kalajdzic speaks beautiful English and has been here for a while and he doesn’t need any kind of translation at all, as you will hear. So Hot Rod, say a few words, please.
Hello. I’m just happy to be fighting at Barclays Center. It’s a big show. I don’t really have much to say. I’m just ready to fight and I hope Marcus Browne is. I’m just here to answer any other questions that they got.
Yes. I’m happy to fight at the Barclays. I’m ready. This is another step on the road to becoming a world champion and everyone wants to make it seem like he’s the best fighter I’ve faced. I will say, “come the 16th, we’ll see.”
Marcus, I just wanted to ask, you seem to be aggravated with what you’ve been hearing in the media in terms of Hot Rod being your best opponent. If you could just elaborate a little bit as to why you don’t feel he’s not your best opponent to date.
I’m not aggravated at all actually. Best opponent in a professional fight? Yes. But I’m talking about the best guy I’ve been in the ring with, no, not at all. Come April 16, like I said, I’m going to do the talking with my hands because that’s how we conversate in boxing.
Hot Rod I just wanted to ask since you’re from St. Petersburg, are you familiar with Keith Thurman? Have you been to the gym there with Dan Birmingham and what kind of sparring have you gotten in that St. Petersburg area?
Yes I was there with them for one fight, with Keith Thurman training, about a six to eight-week camp. I got in the ring with him for about four rounds. It was a good work because he’s a hard hitter. That’s about it. A hard-worker. I’ve been in there with him eight weeks for one camp. A great humble guy.
Now for preparation for this fight, who have you brought in for sparring?
Lennox Allen, a super-middleweight.
For those who don’t know, Lennox Allen is an undefeated super middleweight who campaigns out of New York City.
Marcus, I’d like your scouting report on Hot Rod. If I haven’t seen him fight before, tell me about how he fights.
I see what I see, and come April 16 I’m going to exploit it, and that’s about it. I’m not about to sit here and get detailed on what I see as a fighter. He’s talented, he’s young, he’s undefeated. He doesn’t want to lose his 0, just like I don’t want to lose my 0. At the end of the day, that calls for fireworks in a fight, and that’s about it for me. As far as me seeing anything or any little details, why would I tell you and tell him at the same time?
Hot Rod, back to you. What’s your scouting report on Marcus Browne? What’s your assessment of him, strengths and weaknesses?
Well I’ve seen him fight on YouTube also. So, he’s got speed, he’s got power, he’s stopped a lot of guys in the first round. But the weaknesses, I’m not going to tell you that either. Just wait till fight night and I’ll show you.
When they brought this fight to you and your trainer Gary Stark and they said you were fighting Hot Rod, was Hot Rod even on your radar at that time?
They threw his name at us like a couple months ago and we said yes. They threw his name at us again and we said yes again. So. I mean at the end of the day, this is a fight that for both of us in our career, it’s essential. You have to fight guys like this on the road to become the champion. As far as him being on my radar, I don’t know him, you know what I’m saying, I never really heard of him. But, he’s young, undefeated and he’s strong. I got a lot of power too, so come April 16 we’re going to be on both of each other’s radar for sure.
Marcus does your confidence and your boxing ability also stems from your Olympic experience?
Not really. The Olympics are the Olympics, the amateurs are the amateurs, the pros are a totally different game. So you cannot go in there thinking like, “Oh I was an amateur starm I’m going to be a great pro.”
Two totally different games. All it takes is one punch. At the end of the day, I’ve been in there with, , a lot of good guys at a young age. There’s a lot of strong guys, a lot of champions.
I’ve been around guys, you know, for as long as I can remember. Growing up as a kid, being in the gym with all these guys. So I mean that’s just the type of pedigree and the type of confidence that you’ve got to have being around those kinds of guys.
But for the most part, no, the amateurs are totally different from the pros, and I’m not even looking at what I did in the amateurs as like that’s going to help me in the pros, because it really doesn’t. It all comes down to who really wants it more at the end of the day.
Do you guys both follow the philosophy of not studying styles but picking up the weaknesses, having seen each other fight on film?
I’ve seen a couple fights on YouTube and I know weakness, so we’re not really focusing on that, we’re just focusing on what I’m going to do and focus on my game plan and how do you exploit his. I’ve seen a couple weaknesses, so we’re mostly we’re working on the mitts with my coach on his weaknesses and stuff like that.
One of my Olympic coaches, he always told me that a guy always is going to make the same mistake. So you just let him make his mistake and worry about what you’re going to do.
I really don’t get real study guides like that because at the end of the day, it’s all about what we’re going to do. I’ve taken a look and I see what I see and that’s about it for me personally. I’m not going to stand and go on a limb and say like I come home after the gym and put him in my laptop and watch him. That’s not what I do.
Just curious if you had heard of Marcus Browne coming up and what were your thoughts about him and just what were you hearing about Marcus as he was coming up as a prospect?
I hadn’t really heard about him until a couple of months ago. They offered me the fight and I didn’t take it a couple months ago. I have my reasons but, they offered the same fight again this time and I took it. But that was the first time I heard of him, a couple months ago. I didn’t really hear about him before.
When they offered you the fight the first time, how come you didn’t take it?
I wasn’t with my right coach. I was with Pete Finese. I’m with my original coach from the amateurs that taught everything and I feel like he’s the best in the world. So when they asked me about the same fight I felt confident and took it.
Is there any fear from fighting in Marcus’ hometown?
No, I’m actually excited. I fight a lot of my flights in my hometown and I want to get away, , have the crowd against me, see how that feels. So I’m excited because there’s only going to be him and me in the ring at the end of the night, so I’m actually excited.
Marcus do you take it as kind of a slight that everyone is calling this your toughest fight and everyone is making a big deal about the fact that you’re facing another undefeated guy?
No, not at all. I don’t take it personally. This is boxing. This is what this sport calls for. At the end of the day, like I said, he is basically my toughest opponent as a professional.
He’s young, undefeated. He’s strong. He’s hungry. He’s coming from where he’s coming from. He’s got a family to feed and so do I. We’re both undefeated and that calls for fireworks in the fight, plain and simple.
Have you given any thought to the fact that you could be in a good position to maybe become the first member of your Olympic team to become a professional world champion?
Yes, definitely, definitely, definitely. Definitely, definitely, but becoming a world champion has been my dream since I was a kid coming up in the sport of boxing.
You want to be the first out of your team to become a world champion. That’s always something that the guys and me would whisper about here and there.
But most importantly, our focus is April 16th and that fight and that fight only. Whatever happens after that is all part of God’s plan. I can’t look past this guy.
I’m not going to let any little competition between me and my teammates make me look past this guy because he’s live and he’s coming. He’s coming to Brooklyn, he’s excited and so am I. It’s going to be a great fight honestly. That’s how I feel personally.
Chris Algieri is promoted by Star Boxing, Joe DeGuardia at Star Boxing. I’ll let Joe just say a few words, if he’d like, about the main event.
Thank you. I’m just pleased to be back at Barclays Center in Brooklyn where Chris has had so many exciting fights and back on PBC and on NBC. We’re looking forward to this fight.
It’s ironic that it’s been less than two years that Chris burst upon the scene and within those two years, he’s become a real veteran. And now he’s fighting a guy like Errol Spence. So we’re interested and looking forward to the fight and thank you everybody.
Thank you, Joe. Chris Algieri has had a terrific career. He’s beaten the odds in a number of occasions. He rose to fame in June 2014 at the Barclay Center, defeating Ruslan Provodnikov for a super lightweight world title. After being battered around for a round, he showed his heart in overcoming those two first round knockdowns and a swollen right eye to thoroughly outbox Provodnikov and win a world title.
He just beat Erik Bone via a unanimous decision in December and before that, what former champion, Amir Khan, in a close competitive bout last May that was controversial in the eyes of some people. In 2014, he traveled to China to challenge Manny Pacquiao but lost the decision. You know, this is obviously a big step up for the young lion, Errol Spence, Jr. and, you know, it’s a weird situation for Chris who’s been a big name in the sport for a long time.
But here, due to the great talent of his young opponent and the many people that have made him an underdog in this fight, Chris is in an interesting crossroads situation. So I’m going to let Chris Algieri, the pride of Huntington, New York, 21-2 with eight KOs, former world champion, say a few words.
Thank you Lou. Thank you everyone. I appreciate you all coming out today and paying attention closely to this big fight that we’ve got an April 16th. It’s an honor to be back at Barclays Center and looking forward to putting on another great performance.
I had some of my best performance is there at Barclays Center. I believe April 16th will be just another one of those and training is going fantastic so far. I’m actually getting more and more excited as we get closer to fight night which is generally the case during training camp as game plans come together and fitness levels reach optimal. So again, thank you all and looking forward to April 16th.
Thank you very much, Chris. And now this young man, he hails out of Texas. He was named Prospect of the Year for 2015 by ESPN and Sports Illustrated. He’s a 26-year-old former 2012 US Olympian turned pro in 2012, 19-0 with 16 KOs.
This guy’s a tough customer for anyone to face. And despite his relative youth, and professional inexperience, he’s widely considered one of the great young talents and boxing, Errol Spence, Jr.
Errol Spence, Jr.
Thanks. I’m very happy to be fighting April 16th at Barclays Center. It’s a great opportunity for me and just another, you know, stepping stone for my career. I really want to be infighting in the world title.
It is going great. I’m already on weight. I’m just waiting until April 16th to put on a great performance.
Do you believe that you are at the top among all the young talents right now or do something still have to be proven, that includes, against Chris, on April 16th?
E. Spence, Jr.
Well, it’s always something to prove. You’ve always got to prove yourself you know. I do think I’m one of the top talents of all the young guys. But I’ve I got to prove myself on April 16th. Everybody wants to see what I’ve got.
They’ve got a lot of questions that aren’t answered. And they want to see who answer those questions, so April 16th. I’ve got to prove myself. That’s my stepping stone. So I’m ready for it.
Chris, question for you. I mean, it’s yet to be played out. We can say what we say on paper but are you able to say, going into this, how good you think Spence is amongst that crop of young talent or really do have to step in there yourself on April 16th?
Listen, there’s no question the guy is good. At this stage of the game, everybody are going to fight is going to be good. You know, the kid wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t a damn good fighter.
So, we’re taking that into account and preparing the best way possible. But we’ve got a lot of pressure on it. A lot of people are looking to see how he’s going to perform with a guy like me. And, it’s a very difficult task to go from prospect to contender. You know, making those jumps is not easy for anyone in their career. And it’s just – you’ve got to be careful taking big leaps and I do believe that myself and my team believe that this is a huge leap for the Spence camp.
Chris, with your background and kickboxing and obviously, you know, about the MMA building path here in New York, you know, lifting the ban, could you ever see yourself at some point fighting in an MMA fight in New York? I do obviously it’s not on your radar now but I’m saying, like, down the road at some point?
No, no. That is a resounding no. No, I am living my dream right now. I am a professional boxer. That’s what I saw myself when I was a child, being a champion boxer. I realized that. When I was a child, there was not a UFC.
I wasn’t watching Randy Couture when I was five years old thinking that I wanted to be like him because he wasn’t there yet. So for me, it’s just – boxing for me is a passion and if the past is not there, then there’s no sense for me to compete in dangerous sports like this. So MMA is out of the question for me.
Do think that might have been different, Chris, if, you know, the UFC was bigger when you’re coming up and if MMA was legal in New York, that maybe you would have been involved in MMA earlier on instead of boxing?
Yes, that could have been – that could be possible. I can’t say that, I can’t say definitely not. If I grew up a different way and was watching different guys and had different heroes, you never know. So it is what it is now and I’m a boxer.
Thanks, Chris. I appreciate the answer. One question for Errol. Errol, Chris made the point saying how jumping from prospect to contender is a really big leap. I’m just curious what your reaction to that is.
E. Spence, Jr.
It’s the truth. It is. Prospect to contender that’s a big leap but you’ve got to go through it., I’m a highly rated prospect.
So, the least I have to do. That’s what I have to do to give at the top level. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go through any door that I can open and I’m going to open it.
Do think too much is being made of the jump from prospect to contender when it comes to you that for you it’s not going to be as difficult as maybe other people believe it is?
E. Spence, Jr.
I’m not going to say it’s not going to be as difficult but it’s not a big deal to me. I mean, it’s just the fight, so. This is boxing. You’ve got to get in the ring and fight another opponent. Of course he has a better pedigree than my recent opponent but it’s just another fight.
To just interject for a second. The thing about this card and what makes it such a compelling card and the reason that people should be out there and supporting it and buying tickets for it and tuning into it is that every story – every fight on here has a legitimate storyline.
Every fight on here is compelling as an individual matchup. Marcus and Hot Rod, two undefeated young guys. The winner takes a huge step up. The loser takes a step back but it’s that effort to prove that you’ve already eclipsed being a prospect and you’re moving into contender status and that the the other young guys are no longer enough to challenge you.
So that’s what both guys are trying to prove. Glowacki had that great win against Huck, but no one knew who he was going into that. Now he’s got to get in there with a two-time world champion who is going to try to take his hat off and regain what he thinks is his. Cunningham is a respected guy, a real veteran and one of the toughest guys in the business to fight. That’s a great story line. And then Chris isn’t an opponent. He’s a former world champion and he’s a guy that’s been fighting on, really, the highest level of his career over the last couple of years and probably, right now, at the top of his game and in his prime.
Errol is so good that that type of challenge is one that he is seeking right now because he wants to prove right now that there’s no welterweight in the world that he’s not capable of beating.
Those are three compelling boxing storylines. This is a great boxing show. It’s not about anyone guy’s particular name. It’s about three bouts on NBC, in prime time, at Barclays Center that are all compelling fights.
Errol, obviously much has been made about you stepping up the competition. However, this is the first fighter you faced with other real combat sports experience with Chris’s kickboxing experience. Do you think or are you worried of his inner will and tenacity to win due to his accomplishments in other combat sports?
E. Spence, Jr.
This is boxing – I’ve played other sports – football, basketball, soccer, but I mean it’s boxing. Chris, he has a lot of heart. He has a lot of grit too, and he always comes to fight. So, it’s going to be a good fight.
Absolutely. And Chris, my next question for you, how was camp this go round? I know you jumped around from New York to Vegas to South Florida. Where were you? Who are the players on the team?
Actually currently training in Boca Raton, Florida right now with John David Jackson. I started off camp actually in New York with Pete Trimble and it’s been going great so far.
I’ve put in a lot of great work. Florida has been kind of my second home for training camps for the past year or so and it’s been working out really well. It’s an easy trip between here and New York. It’s just a few hours. Jump on a flight. Same time zone, so it makes, coming back to Barclays to go to work that much easier.
Good afternoon, Errol and Chris. Errol, my first question is for you. Obviously everyone is stating the whole prospect of contender, but your trainer went a step above and maybe put a little more pressure on the shoulders of yours by saying that this win over Chris Algieri will come in better fashion than Manny Pacquiao. He feels that you’re a bigger, stronger and more technical fighter than Manny Pacquiao. Can you give me your thoughts on your trainer and what he said?
E. Spence, Jr.
I don’t really know too much aboug what he said. The only thing I know that he said was what you just told me. But I am a bigger, stronger fighter than Manny Pacquiao.
I am more technically sound and I think, smarter fighter than Manny Pacquiao. But, there’s no pressure now. I don’t have any pressure on my shoulders. I don’t put pressure on myself. I’m just coming in just like it’s another fight, training harder than ever, and just looking to put on a great show.
And your knockouts, normally when you hit guys, they go down, you’re a killer to the body obviously, but Algieri has shown that he can get up. He’s been knocked down by Manny Pacquiao six times and has gotten up. Does that play in the back of your mind that this may have to go the 12 rounds?
E. Spence, Jr.
I’m training for a 12 round fight. I’m not trying for a knock them out or hoping to get a stoppage. I mean, it’s great if I do stop them, but I’m training for a 12-round fight.
Chris for you, same thing, when I spoke to Derek James he says, “Well, Chris Algieri, he faced Manny Pacquiao, but Manny Pacquiao was moving up in weight. Chris Algieri was moving up in weight.” Errol Spence is a natural welterweight. Errol Spence is bigger, stronger, more technically sound than anyone that Algieri has faced. I want to know your thoughts to that.
Yes, the thing about Manny Pacquiao, it’s tough to compare him to other guys. He’s not like other guys. He can’t stay there and go, “Yes, well, his style isn’t technically perfect.” He doesn’t do what you’re supposed to do. His technique is not that great.
It doesn’t matter. He’s made it work for him over how many years and how many weight classes? You can’t do any kind of comparison when it comes to Manny Pacquiao and styles and preparation and being in the ring with a guy like that.
Listen, I’ve been in a ring with guys who are bigger than Manny and they hit harder than Manny but, you know, Manny is a different kind of guy. He’s a different kind of style, you know, so trying to compare Errol Spence and many Manny Pacquiao stylistically or size is apples and oranges to say the least.
So I really don’t take anything from that statement and then trying to compare guys and styles anyway, I mean, styles make fights and it’s all about matchups. Boxing is a rhythm sport. You can watch rhythm on a tape. You can figure it out and see it too.
You’ve got to be in with somebody and the way those styles mesh is what makes boxing what boxing is. So trying to compare styles is relevant for this conversation.
So it was more about the size, the fact that Manny and Ruslan and other guys have been 140-pounders where Errol is a natural 147-pounds.
My kickboxing record, a lot of my fights were actually at 154 and 147. So it’s not my first time being in a ring with a true welterweight or a true 154 pounder.
I’ve been in the ring with guys, with big punchers, with guys who were bigger, had big bodies. I worked with over the years even inspiring and training sessions with much larger men. I’ve never had a problem with punches, never had a problem with bigger guys. So I don’t foresee that being a problem.
How do you guys feel of what’s going on with the pros being able to fight in the Olympics? What is your feeling on that and if you could explain it?
I like the idea, because the headgear and the point system can kind of change the sport a little bit, making the amateurs and the pros almost as if there were two different sports, changing the whole style of the game.
What worries me about that is that without the headgear, is an increased risk for clashes of heads and facial cuts and lacerations which can affect a pro in his career leader.
So you could have guys who are coming out of the amateurs with a great pedigree but they have a bunch of scar tissue around their eyes which can affect them in the pros down the line.
E. Spence, Jr.
I don’t agree with it. They’re fighting grown man. You’ve got kids, like Shakur Stevenson. He’s 18 years old and now he’s got to go fight a Russian or Cuban who’s 35 years old.
These are grown men. These guys can punch. If fighting our kids, our teenagers that are 18, 19 year old teenagers then no, I don’t agree with it.
Errol, can we expect to see you more than twice a year? How many times you think you’ll fight this year?
E. Spence, Jr.
Hopefully I’ll fight three times this year. I want to stay active as long as I’m healthy and everything is going well. I want to stay active. I don’t want to sit around and wait on different opponents and wait for this opportunity. I want to stay in the ring. I want to stay winning. So I’ll be active this year.
God willing, you get past Chris Algieri, who’s on the hit list? Is it big names from here on out? Can we expect to see that?
E. Spence, Jr.
Definitely. I’m not looking past Chris Algieri. That’s the main focus right now is Chris Algieri. After April 16th, I’ll call out whomever, but my goal is always to fight the big names.
Even when I was, you know, 15, 14, when I was fighting on a Keith Thurman card, I said I would beat anybody on the card.
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