Photo: Esther Lin/Showtime
According to former interim super welterweight world champ Alfredo “Perro” Angulo in a teleconference late last week everything is going according to plan. Angulo (22-3, 18KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico, is training in Oakland, CA, for his twenty-sixth professional fight. Angulo is scheduled to face Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-1-1, 30KOs) on Saturday, March 8th, at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout will be broadcast live by Showtime PPV and presented by Golden Boy Promotions.
In preparation for the match Angulo has enjoyed a star-studded cast of sparring partners including former champion Amir Khan and current super middleweight champ Andre Ward. “He’s a very good fighter. He’s got a lot of talent, experience and he’s got a lot of qualities that are superior to ‘Canelo’”, Angulo said with his quiet voice. “So I know that it’s helping me and to be able to be the ring with Andre Ward, it’s a plus for me and it’s a positive. I’m very grateful to him for that work, for the nice comments, because he knows how important this fight is to me.”
Also on the call was Virgil Hunter, Angulo’s chief trainer for his most recent fights and the trainer of Andre Ward for his entire career. When asked what the benefit to have not only Khan, who is smaller and faster than Alvarez, but also Ward spar with Angulo, Hunter was methodical in his answer. “I’ve never changed his style because that’s him and I wanted him to naturally gravitate towards other things that would mesh with his style and by doing that and showing him different looks, different styles of boxing, and then as he and I talked about when he was training in Los Angeles and pretty much sparring against one type of style, he stays locked that style, but now because he has been exposed to different styles, different looks, very fast and quick styles he’s been picking up and adapting to these things naturally and naturally integrating them into his style without being force fed, without being mind fed, it’s coming along naturally through his participation and observation.”
Angulo, like Alvarez, is coming off a loss. In his fight against Cuban Erislandy Lara, Angulo was much more in the fight dropping the Cuban twice but falling short after a shot to his eye that swelled it up to unnatural proportions. After one last punch in the eye in the tenth, Angulo decided to call it a day.
“I learned plenty in that fight but most importantly I feel that I demonstrated that I can adapt to any style and I can fight pretty much any style boxer,” Angulo explained through interpreter Eric Gomez, matchmaker of Golden Boy. “I’m working hard every day with Virgil day by day and I’m learning every day and that’s the most important thing, that I’m learning and I’m ready to put on a good show, all the time.”
Like Angulo, “Canelo” is also coming off a loss. Alvarez dropped a majority decision to pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr last September in one of the biggest boxing events in recent times. Angulo feels that in his loss against Lara he learned much more than “Canelo” did. “Both fights were very, very different. Saul is coming off a loss to Floyd Mayweather, the pound for pound number one fighter in the world and in that fight he hardly touched him. My fight, I’m coming off a loss to one of the best fighters in the world, and that is Erislandy Lara, and in that arguably I was winning the fight, it was a very, very entertaining fight, a very exciting fight and I was possibly winning the fight. So, both fights were very, very different.”
Despite Alvarez being the younger of the two, he has the more experience inside the ring as a professional with forty-four fights under his belt (it is believed that he has about ten more not counted in his official record) to Angulo’s twenty-five but for the Mexicali fighter Alvarez, a professional since the age of fifteen, does not have the advantage in that department.
“I’ve been in the ring with good fighters, talented fighters. I also have an extensive amateur background, so I have plenty of experience. But, you know, ‘Canelo’ is been getting better, and he’s had some good experience in the last few years, so that’s what’s going to happen to make this fight very interesting. It’s going to be an interesting fight, and we’ll see what happens.”
Even with all that experience, Angulo is still considered the underdog versus the much younger and faster Alvarez, a fact that doesn’t keep “Perro” up at night. “I don’t really thing about that. I really don’t care. I’ve been the underdog most of my career, I’ve gone against the current and I just do my job and I work hard. But I really don’t think about that.”
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, gave the particulars of the event.
“I was looking this morning again at the card and even the non-televised fights I think are just great match ups and exciting fights,” he stated. “Then you get to the Showtime PPV with Carlos Molina and Jermell Charlo for the IBF junior middleweight world championship; you have Omar Figueroa against Ricardo Alvarez for a WBC lightweight championship and then you have Leo Santa Cruz against Cristian Mijares for the WBC super-bantamweight world championship, I mean, it’s just an unbelievable night of boxing and I think it will be very well received by the pay-per-view audience here in the United States.”