In 2013, Canelo Alvarez used Angulo as a punching bag. I was there to witness the slaughter. In Round one, Alvarez dipped to his left to throw a left hook. When the punch landed, it sounded like a hammer hitting a melon. Angulo took the blow and many more. Boxing fans love his guts and heart. But that’s the problem. After 12 hard years in the ring, his reflexes, never very sharp to begin with, have dulled. He’s a plodder now. His punches are slow and easy to avoid. He lost another fight in 2014 and took some time off. Many hoped he would announce his retirement, but he fought on to win a couple of comeback fights against lessor competition.
Both men needed impressive victories Saturday night. Guerrero entered the ring a 75-1 favorite over one David Peralta. Peralta, a cab driver from Argentina, has won 25 of 27 bouts. A solid record, but nobody, probably not even Peralta, expected him to defeat Guerrero.
If the fight had been a three-rounder, Guerrero would have come out on top. He popped his jab and landed some hard shots to the body. Peralta started finding his chin with lead right hands in the middle of the fight. Guerrero fought back, but appeared to go down in Round nine from a combination of right hands--and his foot being stepped on.
Peralta won the fight by split decision. Guerrero complained about the outcome after the match, but even if he had won, the perception would have been the same. His peak years are gone.
In his heart of hearts, Guerrero likely knows he’s finished as a top fighter. Accepting reality is the hardest blow.
In the co-feature Saturday night, Angulo took on Freddy Hernandez--a boxer who had dropped six fights in a row earlier in his career. He’d also been inactive, and was moving up in weight. None of that mattered. He easily out-boxed Angulo—landing combinations and easily avoiding Angulo’s slower shots. Angulo had some success in Round five, but after ten rounds it was pretty obvious who had won. As the decision was announced, Angulo shook his head and smiled.
Angulo shouldn’t take any more head shots. But he probably wonders, "What do I do now?"
A final curtain call for both warriors would have been appropriate. But it won’t happen, not yet at least.
They’ll both fight again. That you can count on. The fighting spirt never dies, even when the body can no longer deliver.
Take a curtain call men, and exit stage left.