Rarely does a pay per view event sell itself solely on the premises of action and intrigue. A fighter’s marketability, fan devotion and personal charisma complimented with the presence of a high profile promotional venture will provide the necessary niche to drive interest in a fight. On Saturday, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s respectable stock and brand as an international superstar will sell his weekend pay per view matchup based on the aforementioned above alone. Still, it is what his opponent, Alfredo Angulo, brings to the event that will guarantee fans an entertaining fight.
Thus far, Alfredo Angulo has come up short on the most important nights of his career. Still, it is what he has showcased on those nights that secured him a spot on this weekend’s pay per view telecast in the headline event. Of course there is the obvious; Angulo, like Alvarez, is marketable to a legion of Mexican fans. However, it is his reliability, his consistency and his intense fighting style that secured him the business.
Alfredo Angulo lost to Cuban American Erisandy Lara last June in a fight that many felt was destined to produce a potential opponent for Alvarez. Lara prevailed in the fight when Angulo succumbed to pain and agony in the tenth round. Still, it was Angulo who scored the knockdowns with devastating and debilitating left hooks and left fans clamoring to see him return to the ring in the future. The fight was ultimately stopped because Angulo fought until his body, or more accurately his head, gave out on him. Angulo’s orbital bone was left broken ever-present by the hematoma visible over his eye while leaving the ring. Still, his heart and eagerness to trade blows was not forgotten by his fans. So while Lara may have been the subsequent choice through victory for a high profile fight against Alvarez, he was neither the logical choice nor the compelling one. Lara could have posed a bigger threat to Alvarez technically. Still, it was obvious that Angulo was a safer bet in terms of entertainment value which is equally important to securing paydays in a sport like boxing. Angulo is guaranteed a punchers chance by virtue of his fighting style alone. Lara would almost certainly have to outwork and outbox a fighter like Alvarez in order to win. Should Lara have been chosen and failed, the first fight back for Alvarez could have been a major disappointment from an entertainment standpoint. Lara most likely would not have brought much entertainment value to the event due to his fighting style which is far from fan friendly. With Angulo, there is generally a guarantee that, even if he is not capable of upending Alvarez, he is dangerous enough as a pressure fighter to make it an exciting fight. Therefore, by providing an entertaining fighting style and a punchers chance he proved to be the win/win choice for Golden Boy Promotions in comparison to Lara who would bring a complicated technical approach but not much else in terms of a crowd pleasing performance.
Prior to fighting Lara last June, Angulo’s most recent defeat came at the hands of James Kirkland in November of 2011. The fight stands as one of the premier action fights of the current decade. Both men were on the canvass and on the verge of collapse in the first round before five rounds of back and forth action ensued in the following five rounds. Still, while Kirkland would ultimately win it in the 6th, it was Angulo who would provide the consistency and reliability in the years that followed inside and outside of the ring. Kirkland, like Angulo, is an extremely devastating power puncher prone to high paced fights. Still, his inconsistency out of the ring made him a less logical choice. Kirkland has faced legal battles and training injuries that have kept him off the main stage as consistently as Angulo who has fought more frequently in recent years. In fact, it was an injury that ultimately eliminated Kirkland as a prospect for this weekend’s fight.
The only other blotch on Angulo’s record and potential argument for disqualifying him as an opponent is his lopsided decision loss to Kermit Cintron back in 2009. In fact, Cintron is the only common opponent in the Alvarez vs Angulo scenario. Some have pointed to this weekend’s fighters’ drastic results differentiation against Cintron as reason to doubt the competitive potential of the upcoming fight this weekend. Still, it must be noted that Cintron was peaking when he fought Angulo in 2009 while Angulo was simply still budding as a prospect. On the contrary, when Alvarez fought Cintron two years later, he benefited from a much deeper resume of ring experiences. Alvarez had already been matched with seasoned opponents prior to fighting Cintron whereas Angulo had less big fight experience when he fought Cintron two years earlier. Additionally, it cannot be forgotten that Cintron was much more shopworn in 2011 when Alvarez fought him. Cintron suffered multiple defeats in the elapsed time between the Angulo fight in 2009 and the Alvarez fight in 2011. Therefore, the Cintron bouts against Alvarez and Angulo are not the best indication of what the bout between Alvarez and Angulo might look like this weekend.
Still, overall, there is no doubt that Alvarez will be the clear favorite on Saturday night. Angulo has come up short on the biggest nights of his career and there is much confidence in the sports world that he will do so again this weekend against the highly talented and fight proven Alvarez. Still, unlike other potential opponents who have not been as reliably consistent at an intense level in recent years, Angulo will compliment Alvarez’s head first fighting style with his own. It is predicted that the two will produce a fast paced, action filled fight worthy of a pay per view event. Even if Angulo is defeated, he will not “go gently into that good night” as the late poet Dylan Thomas might say. More importantly, since Angulo was the final choice for Alvarez this weekend, fight fans can expect that it will not only be a “good night” in the words of Thomas, but a great one.