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Angulo must beat Cintron to become a contender, star

28
May

Since the start of the year promoter Gary Shaw has told anyone who will listen that his junior middleweight standout Alfredo Angulo is destined to become Mexico’s latest star fighter.

You can’t fault Shaw for believing in his fighter or for pushing boxing scribes to anoint Angulo as the next Mexican attraction.

There is a dearth of popular, ticket-selling Mexican fighters who are in their prime at the moment, and Angulo possesses most of the prerequisites to fill that role.

He’s Mexican (duh). He has an all-action style that is backed up by a fierce fighting spirit. He’s humble, approachable and presents himself well in public.



And Angulo has been a winner in his 4¾-year pro career.

However, he hasn’t won that much. Angulo, a member of Mexico’s 2004 Olympic team, has only 15 pro bouts.

That’s not nearly enough fights to earn a loyal Mexican following.

Julio Cesar Chavez had more than 40 pro bouts (all victories) before he even began to evolve into an attraction. The “JC Superstar” legend didn’t begin rolling until another 22 consecutive victories that included world titles at junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight, and high-profile victories over Edwin Rosario and Roger Mayweather (twice).

Juan Manuel Marquez had to battle Manny Pacquiao twice before Mexican fans took to him. Antonio Margarito had to beat Miguel Cotto.

You must pay dues to carry the Mexican mantle. Angulo, who isn’t ranked among THE RING’s Top 10 junior middleweights, hasn’t done that yet.

His best wins are technical stoppages of fringe contenders Richard Gutierrez and Andrey Tsurkan.

I consider the 26-year-old pressure fighter to be a mature prospect.

However, this Saturday, Angulo (15-0, 12 knockouts) will take the first step toward contender status and proving that he has what it takes to be Mexico’s next star when he fights Kermit Cintron in an HBO-televised bout from Hollywood, Fla.

Cintron (30-2-1, 27 KOs) is by far the most experienced and dangerous fighter Angulo has faced. The former welterweight titleholder has knockout power in both hands and the only blemishes on his 33-bout record are two losses to Margarito and a draw with current 154-pound beltholder Sergio Martinez.

Angulo doesn’t have the speed and mobility of Martinez, he hasn’t shown that he has the durable chin of Margarito and he doesn’t have the experience of either veteran.

However, he isn’t without weapons.

Angulo’s a lot stronger than Martinez, perhaps more so than Margarito. His punching power isn’t on par with Cintron’s but he has heavy hands that land with accurate authority and his technique is much tighter than Margarito’s.

So far, he hasn’t been deterred by adversity in the ring. He was rocked by Gutierrez during their slugfest last May, but he rallied back and stopped the Colombian in the same round. He entered the ring with a ruptured eardrum and a back injury when he fought Tsurkan and he still wore down the tough Russian over 10 rounds.

Angulo suffered a nasty cut over his right eye in his last fight, a fifth-round TKO of late-sub Cosme Rivera (who replaced Ricardo Mayorga). The huge, bleeding gash didn’t slow Angulo down a bit.

Complimenting his ring character is excellent conditioning.

Freddie Roach, who has watched Angulo spar with many of his fighters at his Wild Card Boxing Club over the past two years, believes the Mexican’s work ethic makes up for most of his stylistic limitations.

“He’s always in great shape,” Roach said. “The thing is, he’s kind of a one-dimensional fighter. He just comes forward, so he’s going to have trouble with slick boxers.

“He’s sparred a lot with Rashad Holloway, who moves a lot on him and Rashad kind of beats him up a little, but it’s hard for anyone to outbox him for very long. Angulo is the kind of guy who can break his opponents down. He’s persistent with his pressure and because he’s in such good shape he can keep it up until the other guy wears out.

“He and Craig McEwan are about even when they spar. Craig does well against him until he gets tired. If they ever fought, I think Craig could outbox him for about eight rounds, but beyond that who knows?”

Rudy Hernandez, who trains his fighters at Angulo’s home gym, the Maywood Boxing Club, agrees with Roach’s assessment.

“Angulo is at his best when a guy stands in front of him,” said Hernandez, who trains lightweight standout Urbano Antillon. “If it comes down to a battle of wills, I think he’ll pull it out 99-percent of the time. Slick boxers who move around a lot will challenge him the most, but from what I’ve seen in sparring he knows how to cut off the ring.

“He’s also a good body puncher. He goes to the body every chance he gets and he’ll hit a fighter’s shoulders and arms; anywhere he can. He’s going to find way and a place to land his punches. So boxers can try to move on him, but how long are they going to be able to run from him?”

It’s unlikely that Cintron, who is used to being the hunter in the ring, will run from Angulo.

Roach and Hernandez believe Cintron’s puncher’s mentality will be his undoing against Angulo.

“I think he’ll break Cintron down,” said Roach, the Boxing Writers Association of America’s trainer of the year for 2008. “If he does, I think you have to consider him to be a contender because Cintron is definitely a step-up fight for him.”

Hernandez says the Cintron fight is a must-win situation for Angulo.

“He’s 26 years old,” Hernandez said, “this is his time to shine. He’s been developed properly. I think his promoter and management haven’t put him in with chumps but he hasn’t been in too tough, either. He had a good amateur background and he’s mature enough, physically and mentally, to handle whatever happens in the ring.

“I’ll put it this way: Kermit Cintron should not be the one to beat Angulo. If he loses to Cintron, he’s not the future champ we thought he was.”

GRAND CENTRAL STATION-WEST

There was a rumor bouncing around certain online boxing forums last week that Freddie Roach let chief assistant trainer Michael Moorer go. The rumor was bolstered by the fact that veteran trainer Jesse Reid had become a regular at Roach’s Wild Card gym.

Roach wasn’t replacing Moorer with Reid. His gym is so busy and he has so many fighters with pivotal upcoming bouts that he needs the extra help.

“June 27 convinced me that I need another chief assistant,” Roach said Wednesday. “Amir Khan is fighting Andres Kotelnik for the WBA (junior welterweight) title in London, Vanes Martirosyan is fighting in Atlantic City, and Andrei Arlovski makes his boxing pro debut in Los Angeles all on the same day.

“They’re all my fighters but I can’t be three places at once, so I’ll work Khan’s corner, Jesse will work Vanes’ corner, and Michael will work Arlovski’s corner.”

Martirosyan (24-0, 15 KOs) will take on Andrey Tsurkan on a Top Rank-produced and distributed pay-per-view show headlined by junior featherweight titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez.

The 23-year-old 154-pound prospect was at the Wild Card gym Wednesday along with Khan and Filipino junior flyweight fringe contender Rodel Mayol, who will challenge RING champ Ivan Calderon in New York City on the Cotto-Clottey undercard June 13.

“That weekend (of June 13) will be another busy one,” Roach said. “I’ll be at the BWAA (Boxing Writers Association of America) award dinner with Manny (Pacquiao) on June 12, and then I’ll work Mayol’s corner the next day, while Michael Moorer works (heavyweight prospect) Lateef’s (Koyode) corner in at a club fight in Glendale, and Jesse Reid works one of my new Russian prospects on a Thompson Boxing (Promotions) club card in Ontario (California).”

Speaking of Pacquiao, it was weird seeing his assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez at the Wild Card without the Filipino icon.

The Russian fighters Roach spoke of were 17-1 junior featherweight Slawa Gusev, who is headlining the club card in Ontario, and junior lightweight Alesher Rahimov.

Roach says Rahimov (18-0, 12 KOs), an Olympian (2000) and three-time world amateur champ (1997, 1999, and 2001) who had 300 bouts, is a real prospect.

“He’s very aggressive in sparring,” he said.

I’m looking forward to watching him.

Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected] His column appears every Thursday.

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