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.