Oddsmakers have made it clear, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is the heavy favorite to rebound from his loss to Floyd "Money" Mayweather and defeat Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo on Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Per Odds Shark, Canelo is a minus-600 favorite.
Those odds are a bit longer than they should be. Angulo's boxing skills have improved since aligning himself with trainer Virgil Hunter. In his last bout, he showed great stamina and his usual punching power.
Though he lost to Erislandy Lara via 10th-round TKO after a punch severely injured his eye, Angulo made a great account of himself.
He had dropped Lara twice and was ahead on one scorecard, and trailing by just a point on the other two, when the fight was stopped.
The performance was enough to thrust him into his first appearance in a main event bout on a pay-per-view card.
In my preview, I tabbed Canelo as the winner by eighth-round TKO, but El Perro is a live dog—no pun intended. His power, relentlessness and newfound boxing skills make him a legitimate threat to defeat Canelo.
That's my and the Las Vegas oddsmakers' take. Let's look at what a few experts from the sweet science think.
Overwhelming Press Support for Canelo
You'd be hard-pressed to find a boxing writer who is picking Angulo to upset Canelo. The Ring Magazine's Lem Satterfield published a piece with the predictions from 20 boxing writers from a variety of publications.
Only two of them see Angulo winning the fight.
The other 18 had Canelo winning by unanimous decision, TKO or KO.
Per Satterfield's article, The Ring Magazine's Doug Fischer thinks the fight will be a good one. But he has Canelo winning by unanimous decision. He said:
I see Alvarez getting rocked early and maybe late in a competitive and entertaining fight, but I think he'll control the distance and pace (with his jab and lateral movement) for much of the bout and score more telling blows, busting up the 2004 Olympian's face and maybe hurting the older man to the body. At the end of 12 tough rounds, I think a bloodied but unbowed Alvarez will have clearly won seven or eight.
This is similar to the way I see the fight transpiring; although imagining Canelo persevering through a great deal of punishment might be a stretch.
Canelo can't afford to brawl with Angulo. That would be flirting with disaster. The combination of Canelo's hand speed, power and Angulo's past facial damage makes this one seem like a good bet to be stopped late.
Two Fighters Like Angulo
Fighters can have selfish motivations when they make predictions, so their picks always have to be taken with a grain of salt. That said, Lara believes Angulo will knock Canelo out on Saturday.
Lara told Miguel Rivera of Boxing Scene: "If Angulo's eye holds up from the pounding of his last fight, I think he will knock Canelo out."
Perhaps Lara is propping up the man who nearly defeated him in his last bout. If he says Canelo will win, then it could create the thought that Alvarez should beat him considering Angulo nearly did.
Nonetheless, Lara made the bold prediction.
In a recent interview with ESNews Reporting, Angulo said that Lara was a more talented fighter than Canelo. That could imply that Angulo will have an easier time with Canelo than he did with Lara.
That isn't a crazy statement, but styles make fights. We'll see if it's as black and white as that on Saturday night.
Amir Khan is another fighter who has stated he believes Angulo will come away victorious. It should be noted, Khan and Angulo are stablemates under Hunter. If asked, almost every fighter would voice support for the man he trains with.
Alfredo has looked great in the gym and you can see an intensity in his eyes that he’s ready for this. It’s not going to be an easy fight against Canelo, because Canelo is a slick boxer and moves quite well, but Angulo showed against Lara how good he is at cutting off the ring. Angulo might be seen as the underdog but under Virgil you’ve seen the progress he’s made and you can be sure he’ll force Canelo to work every minute of every round.
Pressure is certainly the key to Angulo pulling the upset. If he can wear Canelo down, he could have his opportunity late in the fight. It will all be resolved on Saturday night.
Follow me. I'm addicted to the sweet science.