Glynn Evans examines the credentials of the outrageously gifted Texan who tangles with New Yorker Chris Algieri over 10 rounds at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center this Saturday.
Widely considered the most blessed American of the last Olympic cycle, Spence knocked up a stellar 135-12 slate in a vest and competed at three amateur world championships (one youth) after embracing the sport at 15.
A three time US amateur champion and double national Golden Gloves winner, the talented Texas twice scalped feted prospect Amir Iman to win the US Olympic Trials.
However, his relaxed, pensive ring manner was not best suited to computer scoring and he succumbed to a Russian in the quarters at London 2012.
2) TIME SERVED
The 26 year old has been a revelation since opting to play for pay in November 2012, racing to 19 successive victories during his opening 36 months.
Remarkably, just one victim entered with a losing record and his four most recent foes boasted combined stats of 97-5-2!
The shooting star has recorded 16 stoppages and the three fights that lasted to the cards were all virtual shutouts. He has vanquished B plus opposition with consummate ease.
His education has been enriched by quality sparring opportunities and the grapevine is awash that he left Floyd Mayweather Jr nursing a black eye and Adrien Broner staring up at the lights! Mayweather has all but adopted him since.
Every attribute merits an exclamation mark.
The 5ft 10in Spence is ring smart, owns a forceful right jab and peels off machine gun bouquets to head and body. Renowned Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez dubbed him ‘a southpaw Sugar Ray Leonard’!
His chin remains largely untested because thus far his slick defence has prevented anyone getting close. However, his stamina passed an inquisition when he pitched a 10 round shutout against able Ronald Cruz (20-3) in 2014.
There’s plenty of steel beneath the silk.
His level of opposition has been more that credible yet his fights average less than three and a half rounds. Seven victims wilted inside the opening session.
‘The Truth’ has given evidence of a kayo slam in both barrels and a brutal body attack has left rivals folding like accordions. His two most recent, Chris van Heerden and Alejandro Barrera, hadn’t previously been stopped but perished in eight and five rounds respectively. ‘The Truth’ hurts.
5) SUPPORT STAFF
Sensibly Spence has recruited some of the most powerful and influential players in the business to navigate his passage to superstardom.
Formerly with Golden Boy Promotions, he is now an integral cog of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions operation. Saturday’s quarrel with Chris Algieri will be screened live coast-to-coast in the US, while BoxNation replicate in the UK.
Coached by local ex pro Derrick James, the Desoto resident has the luxury of preparing for battle in the comfort of his home state.
Spence appears as good outside the ropes as he is bad between.
A reformed street fighter, today he is a remarkably mature and humble young man; a doting father to infant daughter Ivy and blessed with exquisite southern manners. His greatest vice appears an addiction to video games and he appears content to market himself on his wholesome looks and lavish talent rather than outlandish soundbites.
His dedication and work ethic are beyond reproach – he runs six miles daily in the middle of the night – and he has shown the discipline to remain at 147lbs for over eight years.
Inside the ring he is poised and unflappable but his mettle will be fully examined against native New Yorker Algieri in the Big Apple this weekend.
7) BREAKING OUT
We’ll have a truer indication of how aptly Spence’s nickname fits after Saturday.
Ex WBO light-welter boss Algieri has boxed double the pro rounds, surviving the full 12 round trip with Manny Pacquiao and giving Amir Khan all the bother he could handle. If Spence becomes the first to stop the Huntingdon man, it would send trepidation through the 147lb division.
World ranked by all four key sanctioning organisations, the US starlet is already second in line to IBF emperor Kell Brook and claims location is no obstacle when the time comes to challenge.
With worthies such as Thurman, Garcia, Bradley and Khan inhabiting the 147lb parish, the foundations exist for ‘The Truth’ to fly up the P4P listings, if he continues to sizzle.