Photo Credit: Eric Jamison
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez did everything to Alfredo Angulo on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas but smack him on the ass with a rolled up copy of El Diario. In his first fight since losing an uneventful decision to Floyd Mayweather, Jr., last September, Alvarez scored a gruesome 10th-round TKO over the sadly overmatched Angulo. It was a predictable outcome, since Angulo has neither the talent nor the verve to trouble a young boxer-puncher like Alvarez. In fact, the winner of this fight was predetermined from the moment it was signed. Angulo, whose record slips to 22-4, with 18 knockouts, had as much chance of beating Alvarez as The Lambada has of making a comeback.
Stop trying to make “fetch” happen.
At this level, the fact that a specific match is made is, paradoxically, the ultimate clue as to its outcome. In boxing, if you bet on the favorite 100 times running, you will be a winner 70-75 per cent of the time. Now, apply that ratio to picking lottery numbers or showing down winning hands at the World Series of Poker, and you can see just how lopsided most pay-per-view fights are on paper. As for the losing 25-30 per cent, chalk most of that up to bad decisions or to the biggest enemy of boxing powerbrokers across the world: chance. In this case, Alvarez was the moneymaker whose best interests coincide with those of his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, and his American broadcaster, Showtime. There was no way he was going to be put at risk.
So a crowd of over 14,000 watched as Alvarez worked behind a pinpoint jab, hammered to the body, and threw combinations in neat, almost mathematical sequences. Unfortunately, for Angulo, two plus two equaled a headache that ought to last for a week. In recent years, hard times in and out of the ring have combined to leave Angulo, 31, a shambling mess. Except for thumping power, he has nothing left but fighting spirit, and Alvarez tested that from the opening bell, when he stepped forward and rattled off a flush left hook. After fifteen brutal minutes, Angulo finally tried to make a fight of it in the middle rounds when he cornered Alvarez against the ropes and began churning his hands in close. But Alvarez, for some reason, habitually takes breaks during fights and allows his overmatched opponents to flail away at him. He regained control in the eighth and ninth rounds, shaking Angulo with multi-punch fusillades, and referee Tony Weeks stopped the slaughter early in the tenth after Angulo took a jarring uppercut that not only snapped his head back, but left “El Perro” with a visible look of pain on his face. Although Angulo protested, it was merely an act of pride, and since pride was the only thing he came into the ring with, why begrudge him if he wanted to leave with it as well?
Whether Alvarez, now 43-1-1, with 31 knockouts, did enough for those disappointed in his losing effort against Floyd Mayweather, Jr., last year remains to be seen. Alvarez was booed during the prefight introductions, drew cat calls during the postfight interview, and was pelted with trash on his way back to the dressing room. Poor “Canelo—” it was all so much easier for him in the ring on Saturday night. Next time—cross your fingers—that might change.
Carlos Acevedo is the editor of The Cruelest Sport and a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. His work has appeared in Boxing Digest Magazine, Maxboxing, Boxing World Magazine, and Esquina Boxeo.