Canelo vs. Angulo: Why It Makes Sense Right Now

Next week, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs) will announce the opponent for his March 8 return at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, according to a recent BoxingScene article. Despite the ensuing criticism if Alvarez decides to go with Angulo, I’d say it’d be the smartest fight that could be made given the losses both fighters have suffered.

Canelo-Angulo Edit Photo Edit by John Garita / RoundByRound Boxing

Next week, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs) will announce the opponent for his March 8 return at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, according to a recent BoxingScene article.

Currently, two Junior Middleweight fighters are in the mix. One is IBF Champion Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs), who recently won his title against Ishe Smith. The other likely opponent is Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs), who is coming off a tenth-round TKO loss against Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs).

Golden Boy Promotions and Alvarez’s management team are currently in negotiations, and it is likely that his opponent could be looking at a seven-figure paycheck if he decides to fight.

The announcement has many wondering: Is this a smart choice? Will it sell as a pay-per-view? And, of course, what happened to Lara?

Despite the ensuing criticism should Alvarez decide to go with Angulo, I’d say it’d be the smarter fight that could be made given the losses both fighters have suffered.

Alvarez is coming off his first loss against the pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather. And, although it was clear that he got too ahead of himself by fighting Mayweather, it will be another way of continuing the path he was on before the September 14 showdown.

In other words, it will be a way of further legitimizing himself as a skillful Junior Middleweight. We’ve seen what he could do with a Junior Middleweight counterpuncher in Austin Trout, but what will happen when faced with a hard-hitting, iron-chinned, Junior Middleweight Mexican warrior in Alfredo Angulo?

Let us remember that, with the help of Golden Boy Promotions, Alvarez’s early forays into the division were welcomed by fights with Matthew Hatton, Kermit Cintron, Alfonso Gomez, and Shane Mosley–all of whom had their best fights below the Junior Middleweight limit of 154.

Alvarez was confident in his boxing ability with Austin Trout, but he will have to be even sharper against a man who gave Erislandy Lara the first two knockdowns of his career, and who rushed through Middleweight title-challenger Gabriel Rosado in two rounds.

Furthermore, in Alvarez’s first fight in the US, he was hurt by a man who had previously fought at 135 and 140. Jose Miguel Cotto, in the very first round of their fight, nearly knocked out Alvarez. Although it may have been a case of the first-round jitters, it is alarming that someone much smaller than Alvarez could hurt him so badly.

Given all this, it makes sense for Alvarez to fight Angulo. Alvarez will have to use his footwork, counter punching, and his conditioning to beat Angulo. It will give him sufficient grounds to once again seek for the crown at 154.

However, one would be silly to rule out Angulo so quickly.

It will be the biggest fight in Angulo’s career and the first time he will get to headline a pay-per-view card. Angulo knows it will be his chance to earn a big paycheck and to grow his fan base.

Unfortunately, it might be Angulo’s only shot to headline a pay-per-view, as his previous fights demonstrated a slower and more vulnerable Angulo.

Despite his vulnerabilities, Angulo’s ability to take a punch and his knockout power almost helped him beat Lara. Many believed that, had the fight not been stopped, he would have knocked out Lara in the twelfth or won a close decision.

His biggest setback is closely tied to his biggest advantage: with a chin as strong as his, he has often tossed defense and head movement out the door. He will need to be aware of that in front of a strong puncher such as Alvarez.

Nevertheless, he will be a lot hungrier and tenacious in his attempt to steal the spotlight from Alvarez. He will be the wiser–not of course, the more technical–of the two. He will be the veteran who has faced his share of legitimate Junior Middleweights.

A bout with two Mexican fighters will also help sell tickets and do well as a pay-per-view event. Golden Boy Promotions will take advantage of its Mexican audience and will likely include Leo Santa Cruz and the rematch between Abner Mares and Jhonny Gonzalez, which was cancelled due to a Mares rib injury.

A fight with Molina would also place two Mexicans in the headline but, although he is a title-holder, he barely scraped by Ishe Smith and did not look spectacular in doing so. A fight with Angulo makes the most sense right now.

Finally, given all the speculation and excitement, what happened to a fight with Lara?

Lara has not been shy in expressing his disrespect for Alvarez. In his post-fight interview after beating Trout, he said he looked a lot better with Trout than Alvarez did in his fight with Trout. Also, he wasn’t very diplomatic in the way he challenged Alvarez on Twitter.


Lara stated, “You don’t have the heart of a Mexican, I don’t think you’ll fight.”

So far, it doesn’t look like that fight will happen. Alvarez knows that it will be risky to fight yet another slick boxer. Alvarez needs an exciting fighter to stand in front of him, and Angulo will do just that.

Also, it’d make more sense to fight Lara down the road when his fan base increases. His wins over Trout and Angulo have placed him in the spotlight, and his increasing popularity will make for an even bigger showdown later in the year.

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