Canelo vs. Angulo: Expert Predictions for Main Event

Jonathan SnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterMarch 7, 2014

Canelo vs. Angulo: Expert Predictions for Main Event

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    When Saul "Canelo" Alvarez walks into the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night, March 8, in Las Vegas, the boxing world will be meeting a brand-new fighter for the first time. In his last bout, the old Alvarez, the undefeated young prospect, the marketing dynamo who had never tasted defeat, left the ring with his eyes cast down—a look of one-half despair and one-half disbelief etched on his face.

    When a man loses for the first time there are two paths he can follow. It can become a habit, an acceptable outcome barely worth noting if not watched carefully and kept in check. Or, in the greats, it can breed new toughness, smarter training and more realistic expectations. 

    Which path will Canelo take? Will the most popular young fighter in Mexico rebound from his first setback? Or will Alfredo Angulo take heart from Floyd Mayweather's demonstration of Canelo's essential humanity? 

    Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions are betting fans will be willing to pay big bucks to find out. 

    It's those fans—the ones chanting his name, buying his merchandise and making him one of the most marketable fighters in the world—who drive Canelo to greatness. They've made him a commodity worth nurturing and protecting, one worth the trouble Golden Boy has gone through to mold him into a star.

    And, he said at a pre-fight press appearance which, like most of the fight's hoopla, was broadcast live to the world via the Internet, it's the fans who continue to drive him forward.

    "Between the fans, my family and myself, I'm always motivated for my fights," Canelo said. "The support I get has always motivated me. I fight for them, on behalf of them. Everything I have is because of the fans. I know I'm young and they have so much faith in me. I can just be who I am and continue to work as hard as I can."

    Across the ring will be a man who hasn't walked the same easy road to success.

    For Angulo, obstacles have been a way of life—none bigger than his stay at a detention center after an immigration dispute. Now safely, and legally, in America, he's living the American dream, fighting on the biggest stage in the most important bout of his life.

    "I'm ready to chase him or fight him like a true Mexican warrior," Angulo told the press. "I plan to test him like he's never been tested before. I don't think anyone has ever hit Canelo as hard as I'm going to hit him."

    Can Canelo withstand the hard-charging Angulo? Was his confidence shattered by Mayweather? Or will his speed, youth and skill prove too much for a fighter with more guts than talent?

    We checked in with our staff of boxing experts to get their takes. Canelo or Angulo?

    Let us know what you think in the comments.

Jonathan Snowden

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    I've seen a lot of speculation that this fight will turn into a wild slugfest. While nothing would make Angulo happier, that's simply not the kind of fight we've come to expect from Canelo Alvarez. 

    Canelo's key to victory will be managing Angulo's output. If his opponent is constantly on the attack, winging combinations and forcing Canelo into a series of firefights, things will have gone horribly wrong. 

    Canelo will look to stifle Angulo's attack, keep him at a distance and engage only when he has the tactical advantage. I think he's good enough to do just that and win a fair fight by way of stoppage. 

    I like Canelo by ninth-round knockout.


    Will Canelo's Stock Rise or Fall?

    As an athlete I don't think it will make any difference at all in how he's perceived. He's expected to win. Doing so in anything less than spectacular style does little to alter that.

    What will rise or fall is his status as an A-list player on boxing's business side. He'll be judged based on whether or not Showtime can move this fight on pay-per-view. I think it can, and Canelo will establish himself as a legitimate drawing card.


    The Moment We'll Remember Most Is...

    At one point early in the fight, Angulo will put Canelo in an uncomfortable situation. What happens next—one way or another—will be the defining moment of the fight.


    Whom Will Canelo Fight Next? When and Where?

    After beating the loser of the Erislandy Lara and Alfredo Angulo fight, why not try his hand against the winner? That sounds like a good way to end a hot summer, this August in Las Vegas.


    Whom Will Angulo Fight Next? When and Where?

    Is it weird that I want to see Angulo fight Erislandy Lara too? We all know Canelo isn't really going to take the fight. Why not a rematch with Angulo? I thought the first fight was very close. Run it back in Los Angeles this fall.

Kelsey McCarson

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How? 

    Canelo Alvarez will win the bout by unanimous decision. Angulo will have his moments in the middle rounds, but Alvarez will outbox him down the stretch by freezing the hard-puncher with solid, smart combinations. Angulo will try to respond with aggression but Alvarez will make him miss too much for it to matter.


    Will Canelo's Stock Rise or Fall? 

    Alvarez's stock will rise back to pre-Mayweather-loss levels. He's only 23 years old, and there is no shame in losing to Mayweather, the pound-for-pound king. Alvarez's win over Angulo will bring him more lucrative and interesting opportunities at 154 pounds. Fight fans will call for him to face southpaw stylist Erislandy Lara.


    The Moment We'll Remember Most Is...

    The middle rounds will be a war, reminiscent of some of the more exciting bouts we've seen so far in 2014. After being outboxed early, Angulo will step up the pressure and land big shots against Alvarez—most notably his left hook.

    Alvarez will get staggered but will come back strong in a back-and-forth battle. By the championship rounds, Alvarez will have figured out how to neutralize Angulo's hook with feints and combos, and will coast to the win.


    Whom Will Canelo Fight Next? When and Where?

    Fight fans will want him to face Lara next, but Alvarez and team will play it safe and smart by matching him against another slugger. He'll fight James Kirkland at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on Sept. 13, 2014. The bout is an easy sell, and Golden Boy will feel great about Alvarez's chances.


    Whom Will Angulo Fight Next? When and Where?

    Angulo will get a rematch with Lara. The bout will take place on the undercard of Alvarez's September 13 fight in San Antonio, with Lara promised a bout against the Alvarez-Kirkland winner if he wins. Angulo dropped Lara twice in the action-packed first bout but lost by 10th-round TKO.

Lyle Fitzsimmons

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    Dario Lopez-Mills/Associated Press

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How? 

    Give me Canelo in the sixth by a TKO. It looks from here like he's got whatever boxing skill exists in the matchup, but it seems more likely to be two tough guys in an in-your-face scrap. It wouldn't stun me if both hit the deck, but I think Angulo's going to get hit more often and harder.


    Will Canelo's Stock Rise or Fall? 

    Rise. So long as he doesn't lose here, it's a nice comeback. Angulo's a legit opponent whose style is there to make Canelo look good. Regardless of what type of win he gets, as long as he's the rightful winner, it's a plus.


    The Moment We'll Remember Most Is... 

    When Showtime's Mauro Ranallo blows a gasket amid the sustained action once the fight really gets going.


    Whom Will Canelo Fight Next? When and Where? 

    Conveniently enough, there's an IBF 154-pound title bout elsewhere on the card, and Canelo could use a belt. The guess here is that he gets a title shot with new champ Jermall Charlo in the summertime.


    Whom Will Angulo Fight Next? When and Where? 

    With three stoppage losses in five fights, Angulo is beginning to dip to the level of rugged gatekeeper rather than title contender, but he's entertaining enough to maintain a spotlight position. A rematch with Erislandy Lara in July would serve both purposes.

Kevin McRae

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How? 

    When this fight was announced back in January, I was 100 percent convinced that this was the perfect bout for Canelo Alvarez to get back in the win column with while looking good doing so. After all, Angulo is tough and determined, but he isn’t on the same level as the cinnamon-haired former champion.

    As we’ve drawn closer to the fight, I remain convinced that Canelo will win a war of attrition by a mid- or late-round stoppage, but now my certainly has dropped to about 90 percent. Canelo wins by TKO in Round 8, but not without a fair amount of dicey moments.


    Will Canelo's Stock Rise or Fall? 

    Canelo’s stock will definitely rise as a result of this fight. You can complain all you want about his selection of Angulo, but “El Perro” is a dangerous, credible opponent. A win is definitely meaningful, and Canelo deserves a bit of a fight after taking on boxers in his last two contests.


    The Moment We'll Remember Most Is... 

    Angulo’s strategy is to trade punches in the hopes of hitting you harder than you can hit him. You can bank on him landing something big, and when he does, he’ll put Canelo in more trouble than we’ve ever seen him in during a professional fight. He’ll survive and win, but it’ll definitely be memorable.


    Whom Will Canelo Fight Next? When and Where? 

    Canelo has a ton of options going forward. He’ll be watching the June 7 Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Martinez battle for the middleweight championship with a keen eye. Canelo is tentatively scheduled to return to the ring in July, but circumstances could dictate a change of plan. If either Cotto or Martinez are available, that will be the fight he takes—and he’ll do it in October at the MGM Grand.


    Whom Will Angulo Fight Next? When and Where? 

    Angulo is in something of a win-win situation. A win would do wonders for his career, but he could survive a loss as long as he isn’t outclassed. His fight last June with Erislandy Lara was surprisingly competitive and entertaining. He deserves a rematch, and he’ll get it in August at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Briggs Seekins

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    Canelo will win this by unanimous decision, but it won't be easy. Angulo showed he can cut off the ring effectively against Erislandy Lara, one of the best technical boxers in the division.

    Virgil Hunter should have him well prepared for this bout, and Angulo will apply a lot of pressure in the opening rounds and maybe take an early lead. But Alvarez has the better footwork and head and shoulder movement.

    As the fight progresses, he will consistently land the harder shots. Expect a late rally from a swollen, bloodied Angulo. The fight might be close enough for some to complain Angulo got robbed.


    Will Canelo's Stock Rise or Fall? 

    Both. It will be a very exciting win that Golden Boy and Showtime will be able to point to and use in future promotional footage to establish that Canelo really does have heart. But those inclined to criticize Canelo won't really be won over.

    They will point out that Alvarez was closer with Angulo than Lara and James Kirkland, who stopped Angulo. At least one judge's card will be predictably too far slanted in Canelo's direction, and some fans will probably cry robbery.


    The Moment We'll Remember Most Is... 

    With his face already a mess, Angulo will bravely rally and rock Canelo in a later round. Canelo will maintain composure and fight his way out of trouble.


    Whom Will Canelo Fight Next? When and Where?

    Win or lose, Canelo is going to fight Miguel Cotto next, on Cinco de Mayo. It won't be a particularly relevant fight in the division, but it will do great business—so that's what I see Golden Boy doing. Most likely this fight will go down in Las Vegas, but there's a chance that they will stage it in Madison Square Garden, where the atmosphere is electric when Cotto fights.


    Whom Will Angulo Fight Next? When and Where? 

    I think Angulo will get a rematch with Erislandy Lara. I had Lara up slightly at the time of the stoppage, but Angulo's two knockdowns of the slick Cuban were impressive. I also think there is a chance Golden Boy will capitalize on Angulo's improved profile to bump him up for a shot at Peter Quillin at middleweight. If he fights Lara, it happens in San Antonio. If he fights Quillin it goes down in Brooklyn.

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