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Alvarez and Angulo to Go “TOE TO TOE”

(Photo © Tom Casino / SHOWTIME)
(Photo © Tom Casino / SHOWTIME)

By Bill Tibbs
 

Tonight, Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 42-1-1 (30), will make his first appearance of 2014. It will also be his first fight since his only career loss (to reigning pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather) back in September of 2013. Saul will take on always-tough Alfredo Angulo, 22-3-0 (18), at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
 
While the loss to Mayweather didn’t hurt Alvarez’s marketability, it was a step south in an otherwise red-hot northbound career. Previously, his only blemish was a draw way back in 2006, eight months after he turned pro. After going pro as a 15-year-old and running up an impressive record of 17-0-1, he captured the World Boxing Association (WBA) Fedecentro welterweight title. Alvarez defended that title twice over his next five fights, adding the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) welterweight title in January of 2009. “Canelo” defended that belt three times and then added the World Boxing Council (WBC) youth welterweight title in August of that same year.

After a couple more NABF title defenses, Alvarez added the WBC silver light middleweight title in July of 2010. “Canelo” would make two more title defenses in 2010, face-planting former world champion Carlos Baldomir in six rounds and decisioning Lovemore Ndou over 12 rounds in December. Then the unbeaten 20-year-old would kick off 2011 by challenging England’s Matthew Hatton in a world title shot.
 
In March of 2011, Alvarez beat Hatton over 12 rounds to capture the vacant WBC light middleweight title at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Over the next two years, he would defend the title six times with wins over Kermit Cintron, Shane Mosley, Alfonso Gomez, Josesito Lopez and Austin Trout. With his victory over fellow titleholder Trout, Alvarez also picked up the WBA light middleweight title. Then last September, “Canelo” faced Floyd Mayweather in defense of his WBC light middleweight and WBA “super” light middleweight titles. Fight fans were excited about what the gutsy and bigger young champion might be able to do in the fight if he could impose his size on “Money.” In the end, the experience and skill set of Floyd was too much as he pitched a shutout through most rounds in annexing Alvarez’s belts.
 
Now Alvarez returns for his first fight of 2014 and is taking on tough contender Alfredo “Perro” Angulo who has shared the ring with Kermit Cintron, Joel Julio and James Kirkland among others. Angulo is coming off a fight last June in which he had Erislandy Lara down twice before getting stopped late in the bout (since, Lara went on to defeat former champion Austin Trout in a defense of the interim WBA light middleweight title he won against Angulo). Despite the fact that Alvarez’s loss was to the unbeaten Mayweather, a loss is a loss and it was his first. So “Canelo” will be looking to impress and get back on the title track.
 
There are lots of potential matchups on the table for the winner, which raises the urgency factor in the bout for both fighters. Angulo would love a rematch with Lara or suddenly hot James Kirkland, who stopped him back in 2011. Anthony Mundine is still looking for a big, stateside breakout debut dance partner. Alvarez would love a catchweight crack at Manny Pacquiao if “Pac-Man” and Floyd can’t agree to do business. Angulo is looking to avoid the tough, gatekeeper tag while Alvarez knows he is box office gold and would love to see where a win puts him later in the year. There are a lot of interesting options out there for both fighters with a win and that may be just enough rocket fuel to make this one a beauty…while it lasts.
 
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca.
 
 
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