Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo: Everything You Need to Know for Epic Fight

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2014

Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo: Everything You Need to Know for Epic Fight

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    Sometimes a fight just makes sense.

    The last time you saw Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, he was stuck in quicksand. His punches seemed slow and inaccurate. His feet could never seem to shuffle him into the right place. His face displayed that special look of failure that a fighter gets when, despite his best efforts to catch his opponent flush, he only punches air.

    The baby-faced Alvarez, still a bright-eyed 23-year-old, was not yet ready for the premier defender in the sport last September when he faced Floyd Mayweather. That much is clear. But things will be different against 31-year-old slugger Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo. Angulo be there to be hit.

    He’s the rough and rugged type with a sturdy chin who punches hard like you just called his mother a mule. The problem, of course, is while his mother is most certainly not a mule, his determination to hurt the one who called her a mule makes it feel as if the the son of one is kicking you.

    But Angulo doesn't kick, he punches. And he punches like a mule kicks: hard and in succession. And mean. 

    In boxing, there are technicians, and then there are brawlers. Boxers like Mayweather make up the former. The late Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward make up the latter.

    Alvarez and Angulo are not exactly at either end of the spectrum, but they’re closer to the Gattis and Wards of the world than they are to the Mayweathers.

    The fight is scheduled for 12 rounds and should be riveting. Alvarez is younger and a bit more mobile. Both men have bricks in their fists, but Angulo’s seem made of harder stone.

    It’s a classic crossroads fight: Alvarez, the blemished but still rising star, against Angulo, the hard-hitting menace who might be on the slide but will keep punching people for a living anyway.

    Yes, sometimes a fight just makes sense, and this one seems just the right fight at just the right time for both men. An Alvarez win would confirm that he is who everyone thought he was before his lackluster performance against Mayweather. An Angulo win would bring more big fights his way and add zeroes to the end of future paychecks.

    Whatever happens will be important for the future of the junior middleweight division.

Canelo Alvarez

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    Alvarez is one of the better young fighters in the sport of boxing and one of its most popular names.

    Fighting out of Jalisco, Mexico, he began competing as a professional at just 15 years old. He’s accomplished much in a short time. He earned 21 wins on his record before fighting on American soil for the first time in 2008. By then, he was a whopping 18 years old.

    He is a competent boxer with solid power in both hands. He holds notable wins over aging former world champions Carlos Baldomir and Shane Mosley. Moreover, he’s shown the ability to consistently take care of lower-class opposition—something that is expected of a top-level fighter.

    In April 2013, Alvarez solidified himself as the legit No. 1 contender in the junior middleweight division with an impressive victory over fellow alphabet titleholder Austin Trout. The win was the best of his career and earned him a megafight against Mayweather last September to crown the lineal junior middleweight championship.

    Alvarez didn’t seem to have a plan in the bout, though. When it became obvious to everyone watching he would not be able to land on Mayweather from a distance, he did not alter his approach in any way and ended up losing a decision. 

    Still, most pundits believe he has a bright future ahead of him. To prove it, he needs to take care of business against Angulo.

Alfredo Angulo

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    Alfredo Angulo is a vicious power puncher with a crowd-pleasing and aggressive style. He uses boxing skill—crude but boxing skill nonethelessto stand toe-to-toe with his opponents so that he might bludgeon them to the ground.

    He holds notable knockout wins over Gabriel Rosado, Joel Julio and Joachim Alcine. His 2011 showdown with swarming marauder James Kirkland, a knockout loss, was one of the best fights of the new century. It was modern-day Hagler vs. Hearns that saw both men go down in Round 1 before Kirkland outlasted Angulo in six.

    Angulo, 31, hails from Baja California, Mexico and lives in Coachella, California. He was incarcerated in 2012 for seven months after his work visa expired, and he turned himself into the immigration detention center in El Centro, California to resolve the issue. He was released on August 14, 2012 and allowed to return to the ring.

    Upon his return, he defeated Raul Casarez and Jorge Silva in comeback bouts before losing by TKO to Transnational Boxing Rankings No. 1-ranked junior middleweight Erislandy Lara in 2013. Angulo weathered the storm early on in the bout and knocked his opponent down twice before Lara landed a punch in Round 10 that caused a massive hematoma around Angulo’s eye.

    Angulo was impressive in the loss, and some wonder if he might still have a solid future ahead of him as a world titleholder. Against Alvarez, he has the chance to show it’s true.

The Story

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    These two do not like each other.

    Mexico isn’t short of national rivals, but they’re usually not this physically large. Whereas smaller guys like Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez all had some sort of beef with one another in the recent past, none of them had the weight behind their punches these two will have on Saturday.

    There’s a bit of mystery as to what started the animosity, but when the bout was signed, Golden Boy Promotion’s Richard Schaefer told Rick Reeno of Boxing Scene the animosity between the two was real:

    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.

    Each fighter has alluded to the disdain in one way or another during the pre-fight buildup. Alvarez, though, has been the most vocal. 

    "I know that he doesn't like me," said Alvarez on Showtime's All-Access: Canelo vs. Angulo. "So there is no reason that I have to like him."

    The result should be a bout with real fireworks. Both men rely on their punching power in one way or another, and neither can be considered an elite defender. That's good news for fight fans who are hoping for an epic rumble between two sluggers who hate each other. 

The Undercard

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    The Fights Before the Fight

    • Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs) vs. Jermall Charlo (17-0. 13 KOs), junior middleweights, 12 rounds for Molina’s IBF title
    • Leo Santa Cruz (26-0-1, 15 KOs) vs. Cristian Mijares (49-7-2, 24 KOs), junior featherweights, 12 rounds for Santa Cruz’s WBC title
    • Jorge Linares (35-3, 23 KOs) vs. Nihito Arakawa (24-3-1, 16 KOs), lightweights, 10 rounds

    Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas

    When: March 8, 2014

    TV: Showtime Pay-Per-View

    What to Know: All things considered, the undercard is a good one. Molina or Charlo should mean something to the winner of the main event.

    Molina is a long-suffering contender who earned his title shot and win over Ishe Smith last year the hard way. He's a tough out for anyone in the division. Charlo is a young up-and-comer who could be a real threat if he's able to defeat Molina.

    Junior featherweights Santa Cruz and Mijares should put on an action-packed battle, as should stalwart little guys Linares and Arakawa. The latter matchup was added to the card after after an injury to Omar Figueroa forced the cancellation of his bout against Ricardo Alvarez.

Where to Watch

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    Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas

    When: Saturday, March 8 at 9 p.m. ET

    Watch: Pay-per-view for $59.99 (HD)/$49.99 (SD) or at participating movie theaters. 


    Fight Week Events (All Times Pacific)

    Grand Arrivals (Tuesday, March 4)

    Open to public

    Location: MGM Grand Hotel Lobby

    • 1:00 p.m.: Jermall Charlo and Carlos Molina
    • 1:15 p.m.: Jorge Linares and Nihito Arakawa
    • 1:30 p.m.: Cristian Mijares and Leo Santa Cruz
    • 1:45 p.m.: Alfredo Angulo
    • 2:00 p.m.: Canelo Alvarez


    Fighter Workouts (Wednesday, March 5)

    Open to public

    Location: MGM Grand Hotel Lobby (outside of arena entrance)

    • 11:00 a.m.: Carlos Molina
    • 11:30 p.m.: Jermall Charlo and Nihito Arakawa
    • Noon: Alfredo Angulo
    • 12:30 p.m.: Cristian Mijares and Jorge Linares
    • 1:00 p.m.: Canelo Alvarez
    • 1:30 p.m.: Leo Santa Cruz 


    Final Press Conference (Thursday, March 6)

    View live on

    • 1:00 p.m. - Full card final press conference


    Weigh-In (Friday, March 7)

    Open to public or view live on

    Location: MGM Grand Hotel Lobby (outside of arena entrance)

    • 11:00 a.m.: Carlos Molina
    • 11:30 p.m.: Jermall Charlo and Nihito Arakawa
    • Noon: Alfredo Angulo
    • 12:30 p.m.: Cristian Mijares
    • 1:00 p.m.: Canelo Alvarez
    • 1:30 p.m.: Leo Santa Cruz and Jorge Linares


    Fight Night

    Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena

    • 2:00 p.m.: Arena doors open
    • 2:05 p.m.: First fight begins
    • 4:30 p.m.: Canelo vs. Angulo: Countdown Live begins
    • 6:00 p.m.: PPV telecast begins

Odds and Prediction

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    Alvarez (-900), Angulo (+550) per (at time of publication).



    Alvarez is probably the better fighter, although Angulo has faced the tougher opposition so far in his career, Mayweather notwithstanding.

    This fight will come down to how well Alvarez can keep Angulo off him. If it comes down to them trading punches at close quarters, Angulo will take home the victory. He hits harder and just might have the better chin than Alvarez.

    But Canelo is a much more gifted and versatile boxer. If he can bounce on his toes in and out of harm’s way while landing combinations, look for him to outlast a hard-charging Angulo down the stretch.



    Alvarez by unanimous decision.

    While Angulo is a likable slugger, he does not have a high enough overall skill set to compete with the top junior middleweights. Alvarez does, and he’ll be the one with his hand raised in the end.