Saul Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo takes place tonight.
The fight takes place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and is scheduled to start at 04:00 GMT.
In the UK, the fight airs live on Box Nation and is also streaming online, while fight odds are available right up until 04:00 GMT at bet365.
Get Alvarez vs. Angulo coverage here:
Former WBC light middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez returns to the ring for the first time since losing to Floyd Mayweather last September when he takes on dangerous countryman Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo - one of the hardest hitting and toughest fighters in the light middleweight division - in the bill-topper at the MGM Grand.
Despite losing clearly to Mayweather, Alvarez has lost little of his allure as a box-office attraction and this fight against a recognized beast in Angulo looks set to do big business both in terms of PPV figures and live paid attendance.
Although there is no title affiliated with this bout, the two men are splitting a $2 million purse, with Canelo guaranteed $1.25 million and El Perro taking home $750,000. The Pay-Per-View will be split 80-20 in Alvarez’s favor, and when those extra PPV dollars are toted up, both men will be significantly wealthier.
Styles make fights, and with both men seeking to take the fight to each other, this could be a thriller of Brandon Rios v Mike Alvarado proportions.
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Most boxing fans are familiar with the Canelo back-story; red-headed Mexican kid turns pro at 15, and with his exciting boxer-puncher fighting style he quickly develops a huge following in Mexico. By his late teens he has signed a contract with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, and soon becomes a huge star in the US also.
By the age of 20, Canelo is the WBC 154 lb. champ after outpointing Britain’s Matthew Hatton, and a string of successful defenses follow, including an eleventh round stoppage of another Briton in Ryan Rhodes, and a twelve round decision over faded ring legend Shane Mosley.
In April 2013 Alvarez unifies the light middleweight title with a decision over WBA champ Austin Trout, and in September defends his titles against undefeated five-weight world champion Mayweather in a box-office bonanza, losing a one-sided decision.
With hindsight, the Mayweather fight obviously came too soon for Canelo, and he was made to look one-paced and pedestrian by the fleet-footed defensive maestro. Golden Boy will have believed that it was a win-win situation for the youngster – if he were to beat Mayweather he would make history, but to lose and still give a decent account of himself as he did should not harm his career long term.
(Al Bello/Getty Images)
Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs) will be fighting a whole different kind of animal to Mayweather on Saturday however, and he certainly won’t have to go looking for “El Perro”. Indeed many boxing experts are giving 31-year old Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) a great chance of pulling off an upset.
The 5’11’’ Angulo is a big, strong 154 pounder with a similar “seek and destroy” style to former two-time welterweight champion Antonio Margarito. Boxing behind a high guard while applying relentless pressure, Angulo uses his jab as a rangefinder for his powerful straight right hand and scything hooks.
At his best, Angulo is a viciously effective fighter, exemplified in his two-round destruction of tough two-time world title challenger Gabriel Rosado in 2009.
Unfortunately for Angulo, he has lost his two most recent high profile fights, even though he was on the verge of winning both. In 2011 he climbed off the canvas to floor massive-punching James Kirkland in the first round, only to get stopped in the sixth.
In his last fights against current WBA light middleweight champion Erislandy Lara, Angulo floored the slick Cuban twice, was ahead on one scorecard and in the ascendancy when he suffered a suspected cracked orbital bone in the tenth round that caused his eye to swell up horrifically in seconds. The pain must have been excruciating for a genuine ring-warrior like Angulo to turn his back on his opponent, which is what he did.
If we take away the freak ending, Angulo was a revelation in the Lara fight. The Mexican is now coached by Virgil Hunter, the man who has handled Andre Ward since the amateurs and also looks after WBO light middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade and Britain’s Amir Khan among others, and is one of the most astute trainers in the sport.
Hunter has gotten Angulo to move and box more and use his power selectively, and it worked sensationally well against one of the most technically skilled boxers in the world today. Lara had never even been floored before, yet Angulo acquainted him with the canvas twice, and looked on the verge of winning the fight when he suffered the fight ending injury.
If Hunter can send Angulo into the fight with Alvarez with the same mindset he had against Lara, we could have a huge upset on our hands. Can Canelo cope with the pressure Angulo will lay on him, not to mention El Perro’s genuine world-class power?
The counter-argument, and one which Golden Boy have no doubt considered before making this fight, is that Angulo will be relatively easy for Canelo to get to and inflict punishment on. Alvarez is adept at blocking and slipping punches, and likes to hold the center of the ring. Angulo will come straight at him, resulting in furious close-quarter exchanges between these two bomb throwers. Alvarez slips punches better than Angulo, while El Perro keeps a tighter guard than Canelo. This is a genuine battle between two Mexican gunslingers, and the quickest off the draw i.e. the first to connect hard with the other man’s chin will be the winner.
Despite his great showing against Lara, Angulo took a lot of punishment, and that could prove disastrous against as clinical and efficient a puncher as Alvarez.
Best bet - Saul Alvarez to win by TKO in five rounds (16/1).