NEW YORK -- Welterweight Errol Spence Jr. is viewed by many as the No. 1 up-and-comer in boxing, and he did nothing to change anyone's mind Saturday as he blew out former junior welterweight titleholder Chris Algieri with a surprisingly easy fifth-round knockout.
Fighting on NBC in prime time in the main event of the Premier Boxing Champions card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Spence showed that he is a rising force in the division. Algieri has lost before -- he dropped decisions to fighters such as Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan -- but nobody had knocked him out.
Spence knocked Algieri down three times and was barely touched in return.
"I thought it was going to be late [knockout] to be honest, but Chris Algieri is a tough fighter, and I'm just thankful for the opportunity he gave me," Spence said. "It meant a lot to get the stoppage. I did something Manny Pacquiao couldn't do, nor Amir Khan. That shows where I'm at in the welterweight division. Everyone wanted to see what I could do against a proven fighter, and I blew him out of the water."
A southpaw, Spence (20-0, 17 KOs), 26, of DeSoto, Texas, was a 2012 U.S. Olympian and the 2015 ESPN.com prospect of the year. He has regularly drawn rave reviews from around the boxing community, including retired pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather.
Against Algieri, 31, Spence was very sharp with his left hand as well as fighting on the inside. He was stronger and faster than Algieri, who was never in the fight, much to the disappointment of the 7,628 in attendance, who were mostly fans of Algieri, who is from Huntington, New York.
"Not taking anything away from him. He's a hungry, young lion, and he'll be a great champion one day," Algieri said. "He brought some good stuff tonight. He stayed composed, and that was a big part of it. I know I caught him with some big shots and shots he definitely felt, but he was composed and caught me with some shots when I was between strategies."
"I tell you what, Mayweather ain't coming out of retirement to fight him. ... Pacquiao? I'd bet my house right now he beats Pacquiao." Promoter Lou DiBella on Errol Spence Jr.
By the third round, Algieri had swelling under his right eye, and Spence was all over him, driving him into the corner with hard shots.
In the fourth round, Spence dropped Algieri (21-3, 8 KOs) with a left hand with about two minutes to go, and it appeared to be only a matter of time until he scored a knockout.
That came in the fifth round, two knockdowns later. Spence smothered Algieri with fast punches and dropped him with a left hand. Algieri survived it but was hurt. Moments later, Spence destroyed him with a clean left hand that dropped him hard along the ropes. Algieri was done, and referee Benjy Esteves did not bother to count; instead, he waved off the fight at 48 seconds.
Spence earned $225,000 for the fight, and Algieri earned $325,000.
"He tested me a little bit, but he did not push me into deep waters," Spence said. "I was prepared for everything that he came with. It was pretty one-sided, I felt. I started slowly. He said he was going to take me to deep waters, so I wanted to pace myself."
Said Algieri: "I was talking to my coach, John David Jackson, about it. I didn't stick with each game plan. There were a couple of different game plans, a couple routes I could have gone. I was switching between two different game plans. If you do anything halfway, it works none of the way.
"I don't want to make any injury excuses because the kid did a great job, but I felt something tweak. I just stepped on it, and the outside of the knee buckled a little."
Promoter Lou DiBella, who put on the card, has seen his share of prospects become contenders in his three-decade career in boxing and he was as impressed with Spence as anyone he has seen in a long time.
"He's a beast," DiBella said. "He's got unbelievable speed. His poise is ridiculous for a young guy. He is trouble for anyone and everyone. I tell you what -- Mayweather ain't coming out of retirement to fight him. Spence is a scary man.
"He's left the prospect ranks. He might beat all of them. Pacquiao? I'd bet my house right now he beats Pacquiao. He walked through Chris. Nobody has ever walked through Chris. I think [Spence] is one of the best fighters in the world."
Spence landed 96 of 311 punches (31 percent), according to CompuBox punch statistics. Algieri landed just 36 of 114 (32 percent).
Spence was born on Long Island, but he moved to Texas as a small child and had some family members in the arena. He said he was thrilled to put on a show for them.
"It means a lot," he said of fighting in New York. "This is where I was born and where my family is from on both sides, and it meant a lot to fight in front of my daughter, who got to see me fight for the first time. [On Sunday,] I get to see my grandma, and my grandma will meet her great-granddaughter for the first time.
"My family doesn't get to see me fight live a lot, so it was great for my Long Island family to be here and watch me put on a great show. Seeing the looks on their faces was amazing."
Now Spence wants a world title fight. He is close to being named mandatory challenger for the 147-pound title held by England's Kell Brook (36-0, 25 KOs).
"I'm the No. 1 contender to Kell Brook, so Kell Brook knows what time it is," Spence said. "We got to get in the ring and fight. [Titleholder] Danny Garcia and all the rest of the welterweight champions, I want them all -- doesn't matter who."