The Week That Was (March 3-9, 2014)

By Teron Briggs on March 10, 2014
The Week That Was (March 3-9, 2014)
Alfredo Angulo has now suffered TKO losses in three of his last six fights. (Naoki Fukuda)

Angulo’s face looked like he was maimed by a pack of wild dogs, testament to just how frighteningly accurate the redhead was…

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Canelo viciously mauls Perro over ten lopsided rounds

If you’ve heard HBO boxing analyst Jim Lampley say it once, you’ve heard him say it a thousand times. A fighter that lands more than 50 percent of his power punches usually wins a fight. This past Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at the MGM Grand, which doubled as Little Mexico on this night, former junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alavarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) landed more than 64% of his power punches over the game but completely outmatched Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (22-4, 18 KOs). Mike Vick wasn’t this vicious to his dogs.

It surprisingly started going downhill early for the prohibitive underdog Angulo and it only got worse as the fight progressed—minus one round, when the two actually fought toe-to-toe, like Golden Boy Promotions promised they would. If you watched it you saw how one-sided the bout was; if you were only able to look at the CompuBox numbers you might wonder how Perro was able to stand upright at the end. Canelo landed double the number of power punches (an astounding 197 over the course of the fight) and triple the number of jabs, which added up to nearly 200 more blows in total. Angulo’s face, which looked like he was maimed by a pack of wild dogs, bore the testament to just how frighteningly accurate the red-haired, freckled face kid from Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco, Mexico was. Angulo, originally from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, had a sizeable rooting section in attendance, but they had little to cheer for other than their hero’s rock solid chin which withstood a hellacious pounding.

Despite the fact the fact that Angulo is known as a tough brawler, many thought this fight had mismatch written all over it, because of his slow hands and porous defense. The recent addition of Trainer of the Year Virgil Hunter had seemingly helped Angulo overcome those issues, but they were on stark display on this night. Canelo is no Erislandy Lara, the highly touted technical Cuban southpaw that Angulo came within a Chihuahua’s hair of beating in his last fight, before a nasty cut forced him to retire on his stool. Fortunately for the chiseled, light heavyweight-sized Canelo, Angulo’s style doesn’t resemble the pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, who schooled and toyed with the 23-year-old superstar over 12 rounds in their world title fight last September. It took Canelo five rounds against Mayweather to land the number of punches he landed in the first frame against Angulo. If you thought, like I did, that Canelo might be a bit gun-shy out of the gate, after misfiring so badly in his last fight, you were dead wrong. In a blistering first round that saw him land a ridiculous 26 out of 37 power punches he set an early tone for how little he thought of Angulo’s vaunted punching power and how many holes he saw in his defense.

Perro’s lone bright spot came in the eighth round when he pushed the somewhat tiring Canelo into the ropes and landed some of his best punches of the fight, focusing in on the younger man’s midsection. If you were looking for a round to give to the guy from Baja, this was it, though Canelo still outlanded him and appeared to dictate the action. Perro regressed in the ninth round, and in the tenth, and after eating a wicked uppercut Tony Weeks, one of the best referees in the game, rightfully stopped the mauling.

If you have any questions about Weeks stoppage of the fight, read this in-depth interview he gave the Ring about his rationale. The most damning, for anyone who wants to foolishly cry controversy or early stoppage, is the recommendation of ringside physician Jay Coates who told Weeks after the ninth “One more hard punch, and you should stop the fight.” Enough said on that topic.

If you believe the nonsense that Virgil Hunter was spewing after the stoppage, you probably believe Canelo might have knocked out Mayweather if we still had 15 round title fights instead of 12. “I’m very upset” he would tell ESPN. “Everyone knows Alfredo was coming on strong, everyone knows that.” Yeah, sure they do! Angulo has now suffered TKO losses in three of his last six fights and though he will undoubtedly return to the ring, hopefully it will be after a long layoff to recover from this slaughter. Congratulations to Canelo for putting on one of the best performances of his career and rebounding from his first career loss—but shame on him for missing weight. Some people might commend him for reaching out a day beforehand to tell Angulo’s people he couldn’t make the junior middleweight limit of 154, increasing it to 155, and agreeing to pay his opponent an extra $100,000. I’m not one of them. Unfortunately, fighters being unable to make their contracted weights for bouts are par for the course these days. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said afterwards that Canelo appears to still be on target to return to the ring in another PPV fight on July 26th as previously planned. If he fights at, or near, 154 pounds, it looks like WBA titleholder Erislandy Lara could get the nod; he pulled an Antonio Tarver and crashed Canelo’s post-fight presser demanding they meet. Take note, though, that Lara is supposed to defend his title on May 2nd against Ishe Smith. If Canelo is willing to meet Lara, expect him to ditch that date.

Lastly, this main event started at almost 12:15 am on the East Coast, an occurrence that’s been happening too frequently in PPV fights, on a night when we were setting the clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time. Fans unfortunately don’t have the option to simply turn off the television and go to sleep because it’s a fight they had to pay for. Showtime Sports, because the buck stops with them not Golden Boy, owe their viewers better than this.

Santa Cruz cruises to easy victory over former titleholder Mijares

On paper, this looked like it had the makings of a good fight between the young, undefeated WBC super bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (27-0, 15 KOs) and veteran two-time titleholder Cristian Mijares (49-8-2, 24 KOs). In the ring, well, let’s just say it wasn’t the worst fight I’ve ever seen. Santa Cruz was just too strong, too fast and too damned good for Mijares, who at 32 looks like his best days are behind him.

“I came to do what I had to do to win,” said Santa Cruz after the fight.” Mijares had great experience. He’s a lefty. I had to be ready. We practiced everything to put on a great fight.” He certainly did his part to make it an entertaining fight. Unfortunately for the fans watching, Mijares was simply outgunned. The final unanimous scores were indicative of just how dominant the victory was. Two scorecards had it 120-108 and the third was 119-109.

Mijares, the smaller man who held world titles at flyweight and super flyweight, couldn’t hurt Santa Cruz when he landed, and he did that very infrequently. The fighters clashed heads in the fourth round, which opened up a cut over the right eye of Santa Cruz and gave Mijares a small window of opportunity to land some clean shots, but he took allot more in return. The rest of the rounds were, like the Harold Ramis directed film Groundhog Day, pretty much identical, with Santa Cruz relentlessly attacking Mijares and the latter trying to avoid as much punishment as possible.

Mijares is clearly on his last legs and this might have been his final chance to win a world title. He’ll more than likely continue his career but his days in the spotlight appear to be over, though he has comeback from being counted out before. The always-smiling Santa Cruz made $500,000, the highest purse of his career, and he’s one of the brightest young titleholders in the sport. Let’s hope that we see him in the ring next with another undefeated young fighter, the popular Belfast contender Carl Frampton, who Santa Cruz said he wants to fight.

Linares dominates Arakawa for easy decision win

When IBF junior middleweight Carlos Molina couldn’t get himself sprung from jail early, his title defense against Jermell Charlo was nixed and this fight got elevated to the televised portion of the Showtime PPV. That was good for former top lightweight prospect Jorge Linares (36-3, 23 KOs) who controlled the action in his drubbing of Nihito Arakawa (24-4-1 16 KOs), but not so great for fight fans.

Arakawa put himself in the spotlight when he waged a fierce battle with titleholder Omar Figueroa last July in San Antonio, that saw him come up short but earn rave reviews for his performance. Linares didn’t allow him to have that kind of shining moment as he busted up Arakawa and used excellent footwork to stay out of harm’s way. Linares at one time was one of the hottest prospects in the game, possessing lightning quick hands and a high boxing IQ—but his chin, allegedly made from fine china, repeatedly failed him. Three knockouts in seven fights, two coming within two rounds, quickly took the luster off his star. He’s either built up better punch resistance or Arakawa’s punch was nonexistent because he was never once hurt in this bout. The two had a few spirited exchanges that produced some light fireworks but Linares clearly got the best of them and the rest of the fight was simply target practice. By the tenth and final frame both fighters had sustained cuts over their eyes, and Arakawa finished the fight draped in blood. The judges scored the bout 100-90 twice and 98-92.

Linares is still only 28-years-old and this was his fifth straight victory since being stopped in two rounds by Sergio Thompson in March of 2012. He figures to be line for a title shot soon, possibly against interim and undefeated titleholder Omar Figueroa. You just have to wonder if his face, which has been prone to cutting, can hold up against such a dynamic puncher.

Yeyo batters Canelo’s older brother Ricardo

The Alvarez family had to settle for one out of two after Ricardo Alvarez (23-3-3, 13 KOs) lost a decision to Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson in the opening bout of the televised portion of the Showtime PPV card. The official scores were 97-91 and 95-93 twice—the last two seeming a bit too close for comfort—for an entertaining though clear victory for Yeyo.

Alvarez was supposed to face titleholder Omar Figueroa, who was scratched at the last minute due to a hand injury, so Thompson stepped in. I’m guessing Alvarez is wishing that he didn’t. Longtime contender Yeyo, who’s racked up 26 KOs in 32 fights, knocked down Alvarez twice, once in the third round and once in the eighth with a quick right hand. Though Alvarez had his moments, Thompson landed the cleaner punches throughout.

Pala Casino Spa and Resort, Pala, California, USA

Quintero forced to retire on his stool due to injury; giving Nugaev dubious victory

After arriving at the last possible minute for his ESPN2 Friday Night Fights main event, southpaw lightweight Marvin Quintero (25-5, 21 KOs) abruptly ended the contest with Russian-born Rustam Nugaev (27-6-1, 17 KOs) after suffering an apparent hand fracture at the end of the fourth round.

Due to visa issues, Quintero didn’t arrive in San Diego until the morning of the fight, but you’d never know based on how quickly he bolted out of the gate. The power-punching southpaw was anxious and successful early, quickly closing the gap with the much taller Nugaev and landing some hard shots. The Russian appeared reluctant to let his hands go, probably due to Quintero’s high punch volume. The fourth round was Nugaev’s best, as he fought at a better distance, but Quintero landed a scintillating left hand on Nugaev’s forehead before the bell rang. It was the last punch he would throw in the fight. Quintero seemed to indicate he couldn’t go on and after examining the hand, the ringside physician recommended referee Pat Russell call off the fight.

Morales knocks down Suleymanov, over and over and over and over again

Roman Morales (18-0, 10 KOs) scored five knockdowns over Khabir Suleymanov (16-4, 6 KOs) who managed to have an even worse weekend than Tiger Woods.

The awkward orthodox fighter Suleymanov kept getting up and coming forward, but Morales kept landing pinpoint right hands to put him back down on the canvas. By the middle rounds, Suleymanov was cut and bleeding over both eyes and down by a ton of points. He never appeared seriously hurt, but he was completely noncompetitive. The judges scored the fight 79-68 twice and 80-67. Good win for junior featherweight Morales who has the looks of a possible world-class contender.

Teenage prospect Hernandez Harrison overcomes early knockdown to win

Call it growing pains, or call it a wake-up call, but after being floored in the second round 19-year-old amateur standout Dusty Hernandez Harrison (21-0, 11 KOs) climbed off the canvas and earn a decision over Honolulu’s Michael Balasi (10-4, 7 KOs) in a fun welterweight scrap.

Dusty turned pro at only 17, after a decorated amateur career, leading one to believe he must have started fighting right out of the womb. The Washington, DC native had a large cheering section in attendance, including multimillionaire poker superstar Phil Ivey, one of his sponsors. After flooring Balasi early in the second, Dusty was caught with a stinging counter left hook that dropped the six-foot tall welterweight to the seat of his pants. He weathered the storm and scored another knockdown of his own in the fifth round as he used his superior reach and a snapping jab to control the action. Balasi surprisingly made it to the final bell only to lose a lopsided decision by scores of 60-53 and 59-54 twice.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Santa Cruz vs. Mijare, Charlo vs. Molina & Linares vs. Arakawa - SHOWTIME Boxing

Saul Alvarez vs Alfredo Angulo Full Fight

Leo Santa Cruz Cristian Mijares

Rustam Nugaev vs Marvin Quintero

Khabir Suleymanov vs Roman Morales

Dusty Hernandez Harrison vs Michael Balasi

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  1. BK Don 11:43am, 03/12/2014

    IFC- lol valid point. I do like Vic Drakulich and Eddie Cotton, but I wouldn’t rate either of them higher than Tony.

    Ted - thanks, bro! Despite being a lopsided fight, there were a number of angles that made it fun to write about.

    I’m assuming no one is objecting to the stoppage

  2. Ted 05:25pm, 03/10/2014

    “Canelo viciously mauls Perro over ten lopsided rounds.” Could have been a stand alone article. It was really perfect Teron.

    Great effort.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:30pm, 03/10/2014

    Teron Briggs-Simply great round up….one caveat…“one of the best referees in the game”.....who’s better? In addition to everything else, his instincts are finely tuned to everything that is going on that ring…..Alvarado and Angulo should be forever grateful to him

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