Angulo-Lara in All-Action Slugfest
“Angulo started tough but I hung in there…I knew I was still in the fight after I got knocked down. I knew I was still winning.”—Erislandy Lara
“After overcoming two knockdowns, regaining control of the bout both times, and finally stopping a relentless fighter like Alfredo Angulo, Lara proved that he deserves the big fights at 154 pounds.”—Ronnie Shields
After watching part of the mind-numbingly boring match between Darleys Perez and Yuriorkis Gamboa on HBO, the switch over to the Erislandy Lara (18-1-2) vs. crowd favorite Alfredo Angulo (22-3) fight on Showtime was its antithesis.
Angulo launched an attack to Lara’s body from the get-go, while Lara responded with laser-like straight lefts. After being floored in the fourth and ninth rounds compliments of left hooks by the relentless and incoming Mexican warrior, the 30-year-old Lara kept his cool and showed why he is the quintessential boxer/puncher. His straight lefts to Angulo’s face snapped his head back, while his right hooks kept the Dog off balance. Yet Angulo, with the crowd chanting “Perro, Perro, Perro,” was virtually running after Lara to cut off the ring and smother him as he continued to pound to the Cuban’s body, especially with left hooks. In so doing, Angulo resembled a prime Margarito on the stalk.
Perro’s left hook knockdown in the ninth stanza was a particularly heavy one and had Lara in deep trouble, but he managed to come back and resume his effective strategy of using straight left hands, left uppercuts, and right hooks. Eventually, Angulo’s eye began to swell up prompting trainer Ronnie Shields to instruct Lara to “load up with the left hand and pound that eye,” reminding ringside observers that boxing is all about hurting the your opponent. Lara did just that giving Angulo an eye that rivaled in grotesquery Antonio Margarito’s against Pac or Denis Lebedev’s against Guillermo Jones.
In excruciating pain, Perro turned his back after being hit above the left eye in the tenth round possibly suffering an injury to his orbital bone. Referee Raul Caiz Sr. had no choice but to stop the fight—stunning Barry Hunter, the crowd in the Home Depot Center, the Showtime Team, and the television viewers. At the time, Lara was ahead 85-84 on two of the scorecards while Angulo held an 86-83 advantage on the third. Clearly, the fight was up for grabs and I sensed Lara was beginning to slow down because of Perro’s relentless body work. But this ended up being a war of attrition and Lara won the war.
The hard-earned win gives the talented Lara the vacant WBA Interim super welterweight title and puts him front and center in the junior middleweight division.
The earlier Jermell Charlo unanimous 12-round decision wins over Demetrius Hopkins was okay. The Gamboa win over Perez in Montreal was less than compelling. Stevenson’s KO of Dawson was stunning. But what Angulo and Lara did and then what Maidana and Lopez did was simply something else.
Last night was a good night to be a boxing fan.