Angulo hopes middleweight move pays off
August, 22, 2014
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
AP Images/Eric JamisonAfter two consecutive defeats at junior middleweight, Alfredo Angulo will try his luck at 160.
Alfredo Angulo has long been a fan favorite because he’s generally in exciting fights. But he is also coming off back-to-back knockout losses and looking to get back on track.
After Erislandy Lara busted up Angulo’s face and forced him to quit in the 10th round of their vacant interim junior middleweight title bout in July 2013 -- a hellacious fight in which Angulo dropped Lara twice -- Angulo returned in March to face former titleholder Canelo Alvarez in a match that promised similar fireworks.
Instead, it was a dud because Alvarez kicked Angulo’s rear end all over the ring in an utterly one-sided beatdown until referee Tony Weeks mercifully called off the carnage in the 10th round.
Angulo showed absolutely nothing in the fight other than the ability to take a beating and stay on his feet.
That fight was at a contract weight of 155 pounds, but as Angulo makes his return from the back-to-back losses, he is moving up to middleweight. His next fight will actually be at a maximum weight of 162 pounds, two over the division limit, when he faces fellow Mexican James De La Rosa (22-2, 13 KOs), 26, in one of the featured bouts on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana II undercard on Sept. 13 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The 32-year-old Angulo (22-4, 18 KOs) said he had a tough time making weight for the Alvarez fight and that it was time to move up to the next division.
“I think this is a good fight for my weight,” Angulo said during a teleconference with reporters this week to promote the pay-per-view. “I've been getting my weight and my body ready for the next weight class. I cut a lot of weight before the last fight and I think my body will be better at middleweight.
Holly Stein/Getty ImagesAlfredo Angulo was forced to quit against a relentless Erislandy Lara in 2013.
“I've come up early to the camp [with trainer Virgil Hunter in the Bay Area] and I'm working on a lot of things that are going to put me in top form by September.”
Angulo said that the moving up in weight will suit him and that he will be able to be more aggressive because he won’t be so worn out from making weight.
“Basically I've been saying it all along I was going to stay at 154 up until my body said otherwise,” Angulo said. “It's not a struggle. I can still make 154 but not comfortably, so that's why the jump to 160. You know, I think I'm going to feel more comfortable. I'm going to be the ‘Perro’ that you all know.
“As far as the Lara fight, I learned a lot. It was a great experience. I showed the people that gave me no chance that Perro is always going to be here and give great fights. Honestly, in the Canelo fight I can't tell you I learned anything, because I wasn't there. It wasn't me. It wasn't the one you all know, and I didn't feel the strength and I wasn't able to put on the performance that I would've wanted.”
How Angulo’s power will translate to the next weight class will be a mystery until he is in action.
“I don't know,” he said when asked about his power at 160. “Honestly, I think you'll know come Sept. 13 if I have the same or even more going into the new division. We'll let you guys decide.”
Power or not, the fight is critical to Angulo’s hopes for a shot at another world title.
“Alfredo knows that this is a very important fight because if he's going to be considered for future world title fights fighting the elite fighters in boxing he's got to get past James De La Rosa,” Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez said. “This is a very dangerous fight for him but, obviously, something a little bit different for Alfredo Angulo. He's debuting as a middleweight.”