Canelo will return to the ring on March 8 against the dangerous Alfredo Angulo.
After dropping a lopsided majority decision to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather in last September's boxing event of the year, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and his team quickly announced an aggressive plan to return the Mexican superstar to the top of the sport.
And on Tuesday, it seems as though Part 1 of that plan has come into focus.
The cinnamon-haired former junior middleweight champion will face the rugged and dangerous Alfredo "Perro" Angulo on March 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
This fight has the potential for all sorts of drama and excitement. Here we set you up right with a complete head-to-toe breakdown of the fight and the fighters.
Angulo is a bit crude, but he's a tough SOB.
Main Event: Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo in a 12-round bout.
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
When: March 8, 2014.
TV: Showtime pay-per-view
Canelo will need to put the Mayweather debacle behind him.
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez stepped through the ropes at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas last September, looking to become more than a star in the sport of boxing. That much had already been achieved.
No, he was trying to become a legend at the tender age of 23 by being the first man to knock off pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather. After 36 minutes of a boxing exhibition, Mayweather had once again vanquished a much-hyped foe, and Canelo was left to pick up the pieces from a devastatingly one-sided defeat.
After facing consecutive tricky boxers—Mayweather and previously Austin Trout—Canelo is looking to rebuild his reputation against a fighter who won't be hard to find or hit. This is a dangerous fight, but it's one that could help him rebuild his image with a big victory.
Alfredo Angulo has a style that's best described as crude or unrefined, but the 31-year-old Mexican is a tough customer who won't lie down for Canelo.
"Perro" is a former junior middleweight titleholder in his own right—he briefly held the interim WBO Junior Middleweight Championship—and he has tremendous punching power. He has no problem going to war in the ring, and he doesn't mind standing in the middle and slugging it out.
Angulo proved in his last fight that he's still a force to be reckoned with. Against the elusive and virtually impossible to hit Erislandy Lara, Angulo scored two legitimate knockdowns and was in the fight on the scorecards when the bout ended due to an injury to his eye.
Angulo put Erislandy Lara on the canvas twice.
Alvarez has underrated boxing ability and is precise with his power punches. He likes to back his opponent into the ropes, and when he does, it's game on.
Once on the ropes, Canelo's foes often find themselves the unwilling recipients of a withering assault, with particular emphasis on the body. A true Mexican fighter in that mold, Alvarez loves to attack with vicious hooks to the midsection to sap a foe's legs and willingness to fight.
His biggest flaw, at least in terms of his boxing ability, is that he isn't a high-activity fighter. He tends to wait patiently for opportunities and exploit them when available. In the past, he's been criticized for being too robotic and passive, but that shouldn't be a problem against Angulo.
Angulo is crude and unrefined at times, but he places a lot of physical and mental pressure on his opponents. He has the strength to force his way on the inside, even if that means he has to swallow a lot of punches to do so.
"Perro" has a tendency to be too brave for his own good. He's highly aggressive and attempts to overwhelm his opponent, but he has been susceptible to boxers who can either outpunch or outbox him.
He's a prototypical brawler, and he'll look to make this a rough and ugly fight for Canelo.
For all the criticisms against him, Canelo is a solid technical boxer. And even if he weren't—and with no disrespect to the tough Angulo—Alvarez is not facing much of challenge in boxing ability in this fight. And that's the point.
Alvarez is a powerful puncher, but so is Angulo.
Canelo is physically strong, and he has great power in both hands. His punches, particularly to the body, land with devastating force. He has the power to drop his foe with one big shot or to break him down systematically to the body before shifting his attack upstairs for the finish.
One of the main factors behind his power is his precision. He lands his punches where wants to, is compact and wastes little energy. His punches land on target, and that enhances their effectiveness.
"Perro" is one of the few junior middleweight fighters who could match or even exceed Canelo in terms of pure punching power. He has force behind his punches, and if you don't believe me, ask Erislandy Lara.
The Cuban southpaw was virtually untouchable in his prior fights—and showed to be again recently against Austin Trout—but Angulo dropped him twice and badly hurt him last year.
Angulo's primary problem is that his punches aren't as compact or refined as Canelo's. If he lands, it could get interesting, but if he misses, he'll be wide open for counters.
Both fighters are physically powerful and carry great force on their punches.
In Canelo's case, his power is based more on precision and accuracy, while Angulo is all about raw strength.
So, in this assessment, you get a bit of a mixed score. Canelo, by virtue of his precision, is the more powerful overall puncher, but Angulo is more physically strong and probably carries more force on each individual punch.
Angulo isn't a defensive-oriented fighter at all.
Alvarez tends to be an offensive fighter, but he's not a pushover in the defensive aspects of the game. He likes to come forward and attack, but in the last couple of years, he has improved his defensive awareness and prowess.
He displayed his head and foot movement—as well as his improved defensive IQ—against Austin Trout. Against the quicker fighter, Canelo was able to duck and dodge out of the way of many punches, which demonstrated an evolution in his style.
No longer is he the type of fighter whose defensive response to getting hit is to hit his opponent harder. This enhanced defensive ability should aid him against Angulo, who might have superior one-punch power.
Where do we begin in describing Angulo's defense?
He simply doesn't have any. Not one shred. And no, that's not an exaggeration.
Angulo is the type of fighter who lands a lot and gets hit just as much in return. Against some fighters who can't handle his pressure and power, that's a winning formula. But when he runs into someone either stronger or more durable, he finds himself in serious trouble.
Canelo has refined his game over the years. He gets the nod here, basically by default, as his foe doesn't have an iota of defensive prowess.
Canelo is the much better defensive fighter, basically by default.
While his lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather was a disappointment, nothing from that performance makes us think Alvarez will be in trouble in this fight.
Against an opponent who is likely to charge at him from the opening bell, Canelo should do what he does best. Expect him to patiently pick Angulo apart and break him down with fierce body shots before moving upstairs.
He used that style to get to this level, and it's a style that would seem a winner against an unrefined brawler. Canelo, more than anything else, will need to sap his foe's will to fight on. It's not easy, but given his power, it's doable.
Angulo only knows one way to fight, and that's to fight. He's purely a brawler, which makes him both exciting and quite possibly limited in his potential. His overall boxing and defensive skills are lacking, but he hits as hard as anyone and has an iron will.
Some were quick to knock Angulo for pulling himself out of his fight with Lara last year. But that criticism was a tad ridiculous. Angulo's left eye was horribly swollen, and both his corner and the referee initially feared a broken orbital bone. That's a dangerous situation for a fighter, and you can't fault him for bowing out.
Look for him to try and make this fight ugly. He'll attempt to rough Canelo up on the inside and make his punching power the determining factor in the fight.
Canelo has the edge here, and that's because he has more possible paths to victory.
On one hand, Angulo knows that his best shot is to land a fight-changing punch and get his opponent out of there. Canelo, on the other hand, can box, punch and break down his opponent. He can use his style to win by stoppage or on points, while in Angulo's case, nothing would seem to do but a knockout.
Canelo will get "healthy" in this fight.
After consecutive bouts against tricky boxers, Alvarez has a date with a foe who will stand in front of him and trade.
Unlike Mayweather and Trout, Angulo will not be a hard target to find. He bulls himself into an opponent and doesn't have a shred of defense to protect himself from incoming shots. That should give Canelo plenty of opportunities to cut him up with sharp and precise power punches.
The one lingering X-factor in this fight is how well Alvarez will handle a legitimate punch from a legitimate junior middleweight puncher.
He answered the question of how he'd fare with a natural 154-pound fighter when he defeated Trout earlier last year, but for all his strengths, the Las Cruces native is not known for his punching power.
Angulo is, and that should make this a dramatic and explosive contest.
Expect Canelo to handle the power well. He may get rocked back on his heels a few times in the early going, but his boxing skill gives him an advantage in this fight. He'll win a war of attrition by stoppage in the middle rounds.
Canelo TKO 8 Angulo