Alvarez rising

Peter Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

As expected, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez made easy work of compatriot Alfredo Angulo in their non-title fight over the weekend.

Alvarez, now 43-1 with 31 knockouts, was coming off a lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on September 14, 2013, and needed a confidence booster to get his promising career back on track. And at 23 years old, the Mexican has lots of promising years ahead if he doesn’t get clobbered in the ring.

While the Angulo-Alvarez fight did not have any title on the line, it proved that Alvarez can handle big punchers like Angulo, who before fighting his compatriot knocked down Erislandy Lara twice before getting stopped in the 10th round of a bout held on June 8, 2013.

Angulo entered the fight against Alvarez with a record of 22-3 with 18 knockouts.

In his fight against Lara, Angulo was never almost given a chance by pundits because the Cuban was known as a slick fighter. But Lara hit the deck in the fourth and ninth rounds, which shows that he is vulnerable and has chinks in his armor. Lara now has a record of 19-1 with 12 knockouts.

While Lara followed up his win over Angulo with a 12-round decision over Austin Trout in December 7, 2013 to win the interim World Boxing Association (WBA) light middleweight title, the Cuban is up against time because he is set to turn 31 on April this year. Sounds familiar for Cuban boxers who start late in the game.

Alvarez also beat Trout on April 20, 2013 to collar the WBA and World Boxing Council light middleweight titles.

Although Alvarez is Mexican (he can’t even speak English), his style is not typical Mexican because he does not mix it up recklessly or rushes aggressively against his opponents.

Many boxing observers were also surprised at how he approached tactically his fight against Sugar Shane Mosley on May 5, 2012, and how he systematically dealt with Trout.

But in the Mayweather fight, there was no way Alvarez could win, except perhaps to land one big punch that never happened. After Mayweather beat Alvarez, the American said that the Mexican was still the future of the division, and I won’t be surprised if he climbs to middleweight.

In an interview during his training for his fight against Alvarez, Angulo said that the career of his compatriot was handed over to him, while he (Angulo) had to work hard to reach the apex. I really do not know if there is even some truth to that view, because Alvarez met Trout when the American was undefeated, and I believe he was too raw when he was rushed into the ring against Mayweather. Had Mayweather knocked out Alvarez, that would have dented the Mexican’s aura of invincibility or even ruin his confidence.

But I was awed at how Alvarez didn’t go down from the best right hands of Mayweather that made the heard of the Mexican turn numerous times. Who could do that to Alvarez again? Undefeated welterweight and knockout (22-0 with 20 KOs) artist Keith Thurman? I doubt. Lara? Perhaps? Manny Pacquiao? What?


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