Angulo: 'We bring same passion, hunger'

11/4/2011 - Boxing

Styles make fights, as the saying goes, and it's obvious that some combinations of styles don't work well to make an attractive fight. But whenever two full-frontal brawlers get together in the ring, the attraction is all but guaranteed. And that's exactly what we'll get Saturday, when American knockout artist James Kirkland (29-1, 26 KOs) travels to Cancun, Mexico, to face fellow heavy puncher and fan favorite Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo in a formidable clash between brawlers who always come to bang. After suffering his only defeat in 2009 at the hands of Kermit Cintron and after a year-long layoff due to visa problems, Angulo (20-1, 17 KOs) will get the perfect opportunity to jump-start his career: fighting in front of his own crowd and against a ranked fighter who will give him every chance to show his fan-friendly virtues. ESPN Deportes caught up with "El Perro" during the last stages of his training camp, and this is what he had to share:

What can you tell us about your training for this fight?

Everything went great. I trained in Mexico City. It was a tough camp, as usual. Luckily, we didn't have any injuries or anything. The sparring partners were great.

What do you know about James Kirkland?
I know him in person. We had many sparring sessions together, and we know each other well.

Your fans have great expectations for this fight because you two love to brawl. Do you see this as a potentially big, turning point type of moment in your career?
I think this is very important because a lot of people are interested in this fight. And they are interested because we are two fighters who like to go toe to toe, and we have always fought against good opponents. And this is a fundamental part of what people want to see. This makes me very happy.

Many fans regard you as the archetype Mexican fighter because of your courage in the ring and frontal style. Do you feel the pressure of being one of the most iconic Mexican fighters today?
This motivates me a lot to continue pushing forward and to continue working. I am grateful to all of my fans for all the support they have given me even though I have been away from the ring for a long time. They have always been there for me.

How is your new relationship with Golden Boy going?
It's going great, thank God. Aside from being my promoter, I have known Oscar [De La Hoya] for a long time, and I believe we have a great relationship and we're doing a great job. They focus on finding fights that help me project towards the future, and I work hard in the gym and try to get my hand raised at the end of every fight.

How bad is your immigration problem, and how long will it take you to get back to the United States?
Well, right now we're just waiting for them to call us to get the new visa. Our visa is supposed to be approved already, and we're just waiting for them to give us a call to set up an appointment to go pick it up.

Has this affected your career a lot?
Yes, it affected me a little -- and not only in my career, but also because my daughter lives in the United States, and unfortunately I haven't been able to see her as often as I would have wanted.

With potential opponents such as Saul Alvarez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and perhaps Antonio Margarito or others, are you considering the chances of continuing your career exclusively in Mexico?
Yes, I believe that if we're denied the opportunity to return to the United States and this gets more complicated, I believe we have a lot of interest from European and Asian countries where we could continue our careers, so there won't be a problem with that.

How important is it for you to return to the U.S. to make bigger fights, possibly against the winner of Miguel Cotto-Margarito?
Well, honestly I don't think about anything else other than the fight that is in front of me. Right now, that fight is [Saturday]. After that, it would be a matter of sitting down with Oscar and talking about what is going to become of us. Right now, this fight is going to be on HBO, and we hope and trust in God that we can travel again to the U.S. next year and fight on HBO, to put together a great show.

Are we going to see something new from you in this fight?
I believe you will see the Angulo you are all used to seeing. [Trainer] Don Ignacio [Beristain] has not focused on changing our style, only in making me throw a few more combinations, because of the type of fighter we're going to be facing.

How do you envision the fight playing out, round by round?
Well, that is going to depend on how James Kirkland comes out to fight, because you can say one thing out of the ring, but when you're up there you do something else. So that is going to depend heavily on the tactics or the style that James Kirkland will use in this fight. I believe he will be very anxious and he'll be ready to fight because he just lost a fight, and I believe he will try to vindicate his career. I was also away from boxing for about a year. This is why this fight is so interesting -- because we both bring the same passion and the same hunger to come out victorious.

Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.