Canelo vs Angulo
Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will mark “Canelo” Alvarez’s first return to the ring since he was outclassed by Floyd Mayweather in September last year. Alvarez could be forgiven for taking a “tune up” to get himself back on track but that will not be the case, instead he steps into the coliseum with the ferocious power puncher Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo.
Alvarez (42-1-1 with 30 KO’s) has been put on a pedestal in Mexico, 42-0 before he ran into Mayweather, and viewed as the next big pay per view star of boxing, one defeat hasn’t changed that fact but victory this weekend is vital to maintaining his lofty heights in the Light-Middleweight rankings.
But in his way stands one of the most formidable opponents in the 154lbs division, the biggest puncher that Canelo has faced in his career thus far. Alfredo Angulo is best known for his contests with James Kirkland and Erislandy Lara (both of which he lost) and the problems that he presented for both of those fighters. There is no doubt that Alvarez is the favourite for this fight and that he possesses the boxing ability to befuddle Angulo but at some point he will be forced to absorb punishment, he is too flat footed to avoid the punches, and that is when his true test will begin.
Losing to Floyd Mayweather is no shame and Alvarez can still reign at Light Middle with an iron-fist but we haven’t seen his chin properly tested by a dynamite-fisted puncher before and Angulo is the man to set him that challenge. If Canelo can take “El Perro’s” best shots then it is hard to see him dropping a points decision but he cannot afford to rest back on that assumption, Saturday night promises to be a war.
Angulo (22-3 with 18 KO’s) is a man with a point to prove and he believes this is his stage to announce himself as a serious contender at 154. Forced to endure eight months in a detention centre because of “visa problems” in 2012, Angulo has lived through a personal hell and counts his blessings that he can once again live in freedom. But he cannot forget what he has been through and will call on his inner pain to punish Alvarez into submission when they collide in the Nevada desert.
Last time out he dropped Erislandy Lara twice before a broken orbital bone forced him to throw in the towel. Angulo does not want that defeat to be his defining moment and believes that he and trainer, Virgil Hunter, have devised a strategy that will take his younger opponent to a place he has never been before.
There will be no mystery in Angulo’s approach, he will start fast and be on Canelo’s radar from the get-go. He will close the distance and look to work the body whilst constantly bombarding Alvarez with overhand missiles. Alvarez will no doubt use the early rounds to stay out of range and work off his jab, perhaps engaging Angulo in a fire fight as the bout progresses and “El Perro” begins to tire. Alvarez has power of his own and knows Angulo can be hurt so this won’t be a traditional cat and mouse affair, expect fireworks by halfway as these two Mexican warriors look to assert themselves as the stronger.
There are a plethora of names fighting at 154lbs that both men can target should they be victorious or unsuccessful on Saturday evening but for the victor there will be a renewed sense of “the man to beat” and the biggest and best challenges will await. Carlos Molina, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland, Sergey Rabchenko, Demetrius Andrade, Miguel Cotto perhaps even Gennady Golovkin and Floyd Mayweather are all possibilities for upcoming clashes for these men but I don’t think either will be looking past the other before fight night.
Angulo believes Canelo has been handed his career on a plate, afforded opportunities that he has had to work so hard for, whilst Alvarez isn’t interested in debating their careers thus far and prefers to do his talking when they step in the ring together.
One thing is for certain, this will not be a borefest. Both men are come forward brawlers with excellent punching prowess and the final bell is by no means a guarantee when all is said and done. This is a great matchup and an early prediction for Fight of the Year but I would be really pushed to offer an opinion on who will have their hand raised at the end.
I think Alvarez will be forced to climb off the deck for the first time in his career but he will survive one or two knockdowns to outpoint Angulo at the twelve round distance.
Great match-making by Golden Boy, let’s hope for more of the same in the coming months.