- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Fights between junior middleweight contenders Erislandy Lara and Alfredo Angulo and super middleweight contenders Sakio Bika and Marco Antonio Periban have been added to round out a Showtime-televised tripleheader on June 8 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com.
Lara-Angulo, a scheduled 12-rounder, is a fight between boxers with contrasting styles. Lara is a skillful southpaw and former Cuban amateur national team star, while Mexico's Angulo is one of boxing's fiercest brawlers.
"Angulo and Lara is an evenly matched fight," Schaefer said. "Lara is technically better, but Angulo is a much bigger puncher. If he can get Lara in trouble, it could go his way, and if Lara decides to box him, it could go Lara's way. Can Alfredo Angulo catch him, and if he does, how is Lara going to react?"
Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs), 29, who is based in Miami after defecting from Cuba, has faced top competition in recent fights but is coming off a ninth-round technical draw with Vanes Martirosyan in a November world title eliminator. The winner was supposed to become the mandatory challenger for titleholder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, but the fight ended prematurely because Martirosyan was severely cut by an accidental head butt. The fight went to the scorecards, and one judge had it for Lara, one for Martirosyan and one even. Martirosyan declined a rematch and took another fight, leaving Lara to do the same.
"We're really excited about the opportunity. Angulo is one of the top guys in the division," Luis DeCubas Jr., Angulo's manager, told ESPN.com. "This is going to be his fourth top-10 contender in six fights -- Paul Williams, Carlos Molina, Vanes and now Angulo. That's four very solid top-10 guys. It just goes to prove that Lara is always willing to fight the best guys in the division.
"Angulo is definitely a guy who can turn the fight around with one shot, which makes it interesting. But Lara will hold his ground, so Angulo better be ready because he has to realize that Lara can hurt him as well. It's a real interesting matchup. The winner of this fight will be in a great, great position to fight the winner of Canelo Alvarez and [Austin] Trout [who meet to unify titles on April 20] or to have some other big fight at 154. We're just excited that Angulo stepped up to the plate to fight Lara because not too many people are keen on fighting him."
The 30-year-old Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs) has been somewhat inactive. He was idle for 13 months between 2010 and 2011. Then, after being knocked out in the sixth round by James Kirkland in a barn burner in November 2011, Angulo was idle for another year while dealing with serious visa issues that caused him to be held for seven months in the Immigration and Naturalization Service detention center in El Centro, Calif.
Angulo returned in November 2012 for a 56-second knockout of Raul Casarez, followed by a 10-round decision against Jorge Silva in December in an uneven performance.
"Angulo wanted a big fight, this is a big fight," Schaefer said. "It's not an easy fight for Alfredo. If he comes out and presses the action and catches Lara, it can be a short night. Lara, at this point, needs to step up his game. He looked average in his last two fights. He has the opportunity to look great against Angulo."
Schaefer said the opening bout on the telecast will match former world title challenger Bika (31-5-2, 21 KOs), 33, a native of Cameroon, with Mexican up-and-comer Periban (20-0, 13 KOs) in a 12-rounder.
Bika, a former winner of "The Contender" reality series, has won three fights in a row since losing a lopsided decision in a championship fight against Andre Ward in 2010. In February, Bika easily outpointed Nikola Sjekloca of Montenegro in a title eliminator in Atlantic City, N.J.
Periban, 28, is coming off an impressive performance in a second-round knockout of Samuel Miller on March 16 in Cancun, Mexico, but is significantly increasing the level of his competition against Bika.
"Bika and Periban, I expect fireworks in that one, too," Schaefer said.
The card will be headlined by the previously announced welterweight bout between contenders Josesito Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs), 28, of Riverside, Calif., and former junior welterweight titlist Marcos Maidana (33-3, 30 KOs), 29, of Argentina.