According to an article Saturday on ProBoxingInsider.com, it was billed as "Toe to Toe," and for more than nine rounds on Saturday night, Canelo Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo did just what they had advertised. Both fighters stood toe to toe and let the other have their best shots.
Unfortunately for Alfredo Angulo, it was clear from the opening bell that Canelo had a lot more bullets in his gun. The red-headed Mexican fighter unleashed furious combinations on his foe throughout the night, never dropping, but clearly doing damage to him. Angulo did fire back with his own volleys, but it was clear that his did not have nearly the same sting on them.
If Brandon Rios was the carefully selected opponent who was to make Manny Pacquiao look good in his return following a loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, Alfredo Angulo was to serve the same purpose for Canelo who was coming off the first loss of his career to Floyd Mayweather Jr. A stationary target, Angulo was easy to hit, and that he was.....repeatedly. To his credit, he never quit, or even hit the canvas. As he prepared to come out for the tenth round, there was some debate as to whether or not he should be allowed to continue. Virgil Hunter, who trains Angulo, suggested his fighter be given one more round to turn things around. However, as the round began, a crisp uppercut landed flush and forced referee Tony Weeks to waive off the contest.
The decision was met with a loud chorus of boos throughout the arena. The punch did not knock down Angulo, or even cause his legs to buckle. But in the opinion of the referee, Angulo had had enough. The fans might have wanted to see action continue, but it is the job of the referee to make sure nobody gets hurt. Although there were a lot of differing opinions on whether the stoppage was premature, many fighters and trainers commented after the fight that it was probably the right call.
The loss is a significant step back for Angulo who has now lost two in a row. His time as part of a main event on a pay-per-view is most likely in the rear view mirror. However, his penchant for always delivering entertaining fights will likely keep him in demand. But his long term health should be considered as he and his camp go forward. If he suffers many more beatings like he took Saturday night, long term damage is certain.
For Canelo, the loss elevates him right back up to the top of the pecking order. Although he will never fight Floyd Mayweather again, he certainly will be involved in high profile matches from here on out. He is young, unique, charismatic, and fun to watch. His best days are in front of him.
Despite the controversial stoppage, the fight was thrilling for the fans in attendance, and no doubt those watching at home. It delivered everything it promised and more.
In other televised action, the brother of Canelo, Ricardo Alvarez, had a much less successful night. He was outpointed by Sergio Thompson in his bid to claim the vacant WBC International lightweight title. The bout was fairly close, but a pair of knockdowns suffered by Alvarez sealed the deal in favor of Thompson.
Also, Jorge Linares was dominating in a one-sided performance over Nihito Arakawa in a WBC lightweight title eliminator. The bout left little for the fans to get excited about, as the fireworks that were expected failed to ignite. With the victory, Linares is now in line to compete for the WBC lightweight title.
In the co-main event, the fast-rising star, Leo Santa Cruz scored a lopsided victory over former multiple time world champion Cristian Mijares. Santa Cruz (27-0) was never seriously threatened as he cruised to a victory that cemented his name as one of the top champions in the sport. It wasn't necessarily a crowd pleaser, but the performance against such a skilled veteran showed that the young Santa Cruz is the real deal.