The move has already had a positive affect for Angulo. By taking the lead and putting himself out there, he signaled to the boxing world that he is still a factor in the soon-to-be red-hot junior middleweight division. Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions took immediate notice at the amount of tickets sold for the action fighter with a grassroots approach to promotions. Here in Mexicali where I am covering the fight, you can’t go a block without seeing a Perro Promotions banner, poster or flyer announcing the fight. The weigh-in, at which Angulo and Gomez weighed in at 154 pounds, drew a respectable crowd to the Rodeo nightclub and the fight hotel bar is buzzing with boxing folk talking about the “Sweet Science.” The kind of buzz Angulo can generate with the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Saul Alvarez in future matches was enough to convince Golden Boy Promotions to make a quick and concerted move to sign the fighter this past week.
Yes, “El Perdido/Perro” has returned and this time, it is on his own terms.
A week before I arrived in Mexico, the Leave-it-In-the-ring.com radio show co-host David Duenez and I had the chance to speak with Angulo from his training camp in Mexicali. Angulo seemed in high spirits as he looked toward his future and a homecoming to the ring.
“It wasn’t that it was secretive,” said Angulo of his surprise signing with Golden Boy Promotions this past week, a move that had been rumored since January. “It was just something that happened. They came to buy my contract from Gary Shaw once they realized I was not going to work with him anymore.”
With Angulo’s visa issue still pending, the move by Golden Boy has given him hope that he has not been forgotten and that hopefully, the break between this fight and his next one won’t be so long.
“[Golden Boy] have had a lot of trust in me and I am very grateful for that because this fight, because I can’t fight in the US, they had the trust and they signed me,” said Angulo. “And they believe in me and they are sure that I will be able to go back to being in the US.”
Golden Boy, with its stable consisting of junior middleweight hopeful James Kirkland, WBC junior middleweight titleholder and burgeoning star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, as well as access to middleweight contender Danny Jacobs, represented the best shot at multiple big fights. Golden Boy’s access and influence at HBO, along with their commitment to putting on Alvarez’s shows in Mexico, gives Angulo hope that his time back in the spotlight will come again soon.
“I don’t think there is any inconvenience in making a big fight in Mexico with some well-recognized boxer,” said Angulo. “I don’t think that HBO would have any problem in going to Mexico and broadcasting a fight from Mexico. My visa has been approved. I am just waiting to go pick it up. What Golden Boy has promised is to keep me fighting in Mexico while we wait for me to be able to fight in the US. That way I am not in a layoff for so long.”
Golden Boy will take the promotional lead after this fight but according to Angulo, they were instrumental in helping him secure ESPN3.com as the television provider for his fight. The bout will be shown at Midnight EST/9PM on the West Coast.
Beyond promotional changes, Angulo has also split from longtime trainer Clemente Medina while maintaining the strength and conditioning services of Darryl Hudson, who has remained close with Angulo through this trying layoff.
“Darryl Hudson is with me. He is still my conditioning coach. He is a person that has supported me a lot,” said Angulo. “[My new trainer] is Francisco Martinez. He’s a friend of mine who has had the chance to help me on other occasions. They have been able to put together a good plan. Everything has been going well so I can be at 100% in the fight.”
I asked Angulo if he had any trouble making the 154-pound limit after such a long time away from the sport. Both Angulo and Hudson, who came to camp here in Mexicali seven-and-a-half weeks ago, assured me that “Perro” is in fine fighting form. He will remain a junior middleweight for the time being though he is open to a big-money middleweight fight. At the weigh-in, Angulo stayed and took pictures with fans while appearing the normal amount of grumpy for a fighter making weight. He appeared healthy for a man most likely dehydrating down to the division limit.
“My body is 154 pounds naturally,” said Angulo. “The fact that I was not fighting for over a year, I went up in weight but not that much to 173-175. It hasn’t been hard to go to 154. That’s my weight and that is where I will stay for a while. But having said that, if there is any fight that comes up or that I deem convenient for me, then I have no problem going to 160.”
For his comeback opponent, Angulo has selected Gomez, a 26-year-old fighter with 17 wins, four losses (three by KO), a draw and eight knockouts in his seven-year career. Gomez’s fighting weight has been as low as 145 and as high as 166. His stoppage losses have come at 149, 154 and 166 pounds with none coming sooner than the fourth round. In essence, Gomez is a tune-up who may give Angulo some rounds.
“He is a great fighter,” Angulo said of Gomez. “He can take a punch. Has a good endurance. On two occasions, I have seen videos of him. He is a good fighter. He is tall. I think it will be a great fight. A lot of people will realize that the time away from the ring didn’t really affect me, that I am born to fight, and August 20, people will realize that it really didn’t affect me that much.”
Beyond this fight, should he be successful, Angulo is looking at a division-changing fight against junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan. The fight has been ordered by the WBC as an elimination bout to determine the number-one contender to Saul Alvarez and tonight’s winner is expected to face “Canelo” sometime next year. While Top Rank, who promotes Martirosyan, and Golden Boy are rivals that have refused to do business in recent years, the possibility of getting a shot at Alvarez, who brings a belt to go along with his high TV ratings and draw at the live gate, is likely too good to pass up for either company.
“I think he is a good fighter. If he likes to talk that is his style and is up to him,” said Angulo of Martirosyan, who has been known to be very vocal when discussing the rest of his division. “As far as I am concerned, I don’t like to bring attention to myself like that. I like to do my work in the ring. I would love to fight Vanes if an agreement can be reached between my company and his. I believe we can make a very good fight for fans.”
In boxing today, draws are few and far between. That we now have Chavez Jr. at 160 pounds drawing better and better each time out, Alvarez putting up even better numbers and Angulo now showing that a little bit of old-fashioned hustle can help him draw just as well in Mexico, the future of the sport looks bright.
For now, the future is tonight for Angulo. That he is able to ply his trade once again after such an uncertain period of time is sweet relief for the soft-spoken fighter whose two fists speak loud and clear for him in the ring.
“I am truly very, very happy because I have the support of a lot of people,” said a jubilant Angulo. “I recently opened my Twitter account (@ElPERRO82) and I just had my birthday [on August 11]. In 29 years, I have never had so many people congratulate me and wish me a happy birthday like this time. A lot of people have also sent me their messages of support for the fight. I am very happy to be back and doubly happy because I will be fighting at home in Mexicali.”
You can email Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gabriel_montoya and catch him on each Monday’s episode of “The Next Round” with Steve Kim. You can also tune in to hear him and co-host David Duenez live on the BlogTalk radio show Leave-It-In-The-Ring.com, Thursdays at 5-8 PM PST. Gabriel is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.