Saul "Canelo" Alvarez's first fight since his majority-decision loss to Floyd Mayweather in September is set.
Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer announced Thursday, Jan. 9, that Alvarez will return to the ring on March 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to face Alfredo "Perro" Angulo, per ESPN's Dan Rafael. A bout between Alvarez and Angulo had been widely expected since earlier this month, but Angulo did not formally sign his contract until Thursday.
"The fight is done. Signed, sealed and delivered," Schaefer said. "Both guys are excited and ready to put on a show. These are two Mexican warriors and two of the most exciting fighters in the sport and it will be a toe-to-toe battle. That is what we are calling the card, 'Toe to Toe.'"
Alvarez's choice for the March bout came down to Angulo, Carlos Molina and Erislandy Lara. Perhaps the most popular Mexican boxer in the world, Alvarez's following makes him a draw regardless of opponent. Golden Boy went hard after Miguel Cotto, offering him $10 million to fight Alvarez, but were rebuffed.
Showtime Sports will broadcast the fight on its pay-per-view network.
Although Angulo does not have the national profile of Cotto, Schaefer told Rick Reeno of Boxing Scene that there is quite a bit of personal animosity that could fuel the bout:
They do not like each other. There is some rivalry there. I do not know where it's coming from, but I know that based on my conversations with both guys - they really can't stand each other. I had to overcome that sort of sentiment with Canelo, who said 'I don't want this guy to make money off of me.' I had to overcome that, negotiate it through and get it done. I'm really excited about it.
Alvarez is also in a position where he needs a win to reclaim his status on pound-for-pound lists. While his loss to Mayweather was a majority decision, most watching the bout found the judges' scoring borderline nonsensical as Money May dominated by every metric.
C.J. Ross, the judge who scored the fight a draw, took an indefinite leave of absence after widespread criticism of her card.
Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs) may not have found in-ring success against Mayweather, but the fight was an unqualified fiscal bonanza. Equipped with pre-fight hype that far exceeded the product, Alvarez-Mayweather became the top-grossing pay-per-view event in history with more than $150 million.
It also set a live gate record with more than $20 million in revenue. The fight narrowly missed out on breaking Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya's record of 2.48 million pay-per-view purchases, scoring 2.2 million buys.
Even in a loss, Schaefer saw the experience and exposure as being a solid move for Alvarez's career.
"But just because you lose to Floyd doesn't mean you lose," Schaefer said. "He's been exposed to so many people because of it and that increased exposure is a good thing for Canelo and his career."
Ring TV currently ranks Alvarez as the ninth-best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Barring an unforeseen injury, he could be in for a huge 2014 with three different fight dates lined up.
Angulo, to some, could be seen as Alvarez merely looking to get a notch in the win column before more high-profile contests. The 31-year-old Mexican (22-3, 18 KOs) lost his last fight against Lara last June and has suffered TKO defeats in two of his last four fights. He's a stellar power puncher with the ability to knock out any opponent, but Alvarez has made a living picking apart similarly styled opponents in the past.
FightNights.com warned against taking Angulo too lightly, though:
Angulo is no easy task. He's got some power that Canelo has yet to see at 154. And he's a bull.— FightNights.com™ (@boxing) January 7, 2014
At the moment, the undercard is expected to be highlighted by a bout between Leo Santa Cruz and Cristian Mijares. There are a total of three undercards that need to be booked between now and March.
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