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Angulo blasts Alcine, looks ready to fight the best

17
Jul

Alfredo Angulo (right) lands a head-twisting right hand to Joachim Alcine seconds before their junior middleweight fight was stopped on Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

Apart from “it was fun while it lasted,” not much can be said about Alfredo Angulo’s first-round stoppage of Joachim Alcine Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Angulo did to the former 154-pound beltholder what he does to most of his opponents: dish out punishment while putting on an entertaining fight. The HBO-televised co-feature to the Timothy Bradley-Carlos Abregu fight was just a lot shorter than Angulo’s recent fights.

In retrospect, the abbreviated bout probably should have been expected. Angulo (19-0, 16 knockouts), a 2004 Mexican Olympian who now makes his home in the competitive gym environment of Southern California, is maturing as a fighter.

However, while Angulo’s preparation and technique has improved, his competition has remained relatively the same since he suffered the only loss of his 5¾-year career. Angulo is now four fights removed from that loss, a unanimous decision to former welterweight titleholder Kermit Cintron last May.

Since the Cintron fight, the 27-year-old pressure fighter has fought Gabriel Rosado (a spoiler/journeyman-type fighter), Harry Joe Yorgy (a club fighter/regional attraction), Joel Julio (a former prospect/fringe contender) and Alcine (a former beltholder).

Of the four opponents, only Julio, who lasted into the 11th round by wisely employing a stick-and-move game plan, made it out of the third round.

Angulo, THE RING’s No. 3-rated junior middleweight, is clearly ready to fight the best fighters in the 154-pound division.

Because as formidable as Alcine (32-2, 19 KOs) and his glossy record appeared, the former titleholder just couldn’t cut it.

That statement isn’t meant as a criticism of the bout’s matchmakers. Alcine was expected to give Angulo a decent fight. The Haiti-born Quebec resident is tall, rangy, and athletic. He won a major title by outboxing and outfighting a talented boxer in Travis Simms (then-25-0) over 12 rounds in 2007.

However, the moment Alcine elected to trade with Angulo, which occurred midway through the opening round, he was visibly stunned.

Alcine arm-locked Angulo’s left glove to prevent his antagonist from landing follow-up punches but he still absorbed punishment from Angulo’s left hand. Angulo repeatedly banged the right side of Alcine’s head with his left until a temple shot wobbled the 34-year-old vet. Alcine fired back as he was rocked onto his heels and was quickly pressed to the ropes.

With less than 10 seconds left in the round, Angulo attacked like his nickname-sake “El Perro” (the dog), landing five flush unanswered power shots — beginning with a brutal hook-cross combination — to Alcine’s jaw. The final two blows caused Alcine’s body to sag, prompting referee Dr. Lou Moret to leap in and wave the bout off at 2:59 of the round.

“He was hurt and he grabbed me to keep me from punching him,” Angulo said of Alcine’s holding tactics, “but if I have one free hand, I’m going to keep on throwing.”

Alcine said he wanted to continue but all but admitted that he couldn’t.

“I wanted to keep the fight going,” he said. “I should have held instead of fighting back. My punches were too wide.”

Fans want to see Angulo in the ring with a fighter who can take his power or at least knows what to do when he’s hurt; a fighter who’s punches aren’t wide.

Angulo’s promoter, Gary Shaw, said he would like to pit his junior middleweight against newly crowned titleholder Miguel Cotto.

“If I could put Angulo in with anybody, I’d go with Cotto,” Shaw said during the post-fight press conference. “Or I’d have him fight Antonio Margarito, or go up to middleweight and fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

“Those are the fights I would make if Bob (Arum) would stop protecting his fighters. Those are fights that would fill any stadium in the U.S. or Mexico. Those fights would pack Staples (Center in Los Angeles).”

Angulo vs. Cotto and Margarito are can’t-miss fan-friendly fights between a young contender and more-experienced veterans.

Angulo vs. Chavez Jr.? Although it would probably attract a fair amount of attention and draw well, the result of the fight would probably be similar to Angulo’s recent fights. Chavez looked good in his last fight (a unanimous decision over fringe contender John Duddy) but he’s still a work-in-progress.

Arum would be crazy to allow the son of the Mexican legend to fight a punisher of Angulo’s caliber, and the 78-year-old promoter remains as shrewd as ever.

For the time being, Arum is keeping the stars of his Top Rank stable “in-house.” Cotto and Margarito are the potential November opponents for Manny Pacquiao. Margarito and former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik have been mentioned as possible opponents for Chavez Jr. later this year.

So who does that leave Angulo?

Well, there are the two fighters that THE RING ranks ahead of him, old foe Cintron and the reigning middleweight champ Sergio Martinez (who is also the magazine’s No. 1-rated junior middleweight). Cintron and Martinez are promoted by Lou DiBella, who unlike Arum, is willing to do business with other promoters.

During the post-fight press conference boxing writer Gabriel Montoya told Shaw that he spoke with DiBella, who said that he is willing to have Martinez come down to 155 pounds to fight Angulo with the middleweight title on the line.

Shaw didn’t seem interested at first.

“I represent a junior middleweight,” he said. “At 154 pounds, we’ll fight (Martinez). I don’t believe in catch-weights, that’s bulls__t. We just paid sanctioning fees (to the WBC) for the junior middleweight title. Why go up in weight?”

Shaw acknowledged that he contradicted himself when, moments later, he proposed a middleweight showdown with Chavez Jr. and offered this amendment:

“Lou DiBella knows my number,” he said. “He can call me directly if he wants to make a fight, he doesn’t have to go through a MaxBoxing writer. If he wants a fight with ‘Perro,’ he can call me and we’ll see if HBO will put it on.”

Another option would be to match Angulo with 154-pound titleholder Cory Spinks. The former welterweight champ is promoted by Don King, who also represents 140-pound beltholder Devon Alexander.

Alexander appears to be the only junior welterweight willing to fight Bradley, who beat Abregu in a welterweight fight on Saturday. Bradley says he’s willing to fight Alexander in the talented southpaw’s hometown of St. Louis, where Spinks, who is also a native, draws very well. A Bradley-Alexander/Spinks-Angulo double-header in St. Louis would make for a big event in the Midwestern city and fun night of television.

Whoever Angulo fights next, Shaw says it will be a quality opponent.

“Angulo is a true Mexican fighter,” Shaw said. “He will fight anybody. He is not a protected fighter.”

He doesn’t need to be. Let’s hope Angulo’s next opponent is good enough to give him a fight.

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