Angulo wears his political trunks making a statement of Immigration Reform Now!
By Matthew Banegas
As testament to the high level of competition in one of the most exciting divisions in boxing, the junior middle-weight bout on Saturday (June 8th) night brought us a very interesting battle of styles for WBA interim super-welterweight championship, vetting Erislandy Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs) against Alfredo Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs).
Angulo, a pressure fighter, known for his power and unrelenting forward movement, faced Lara, a southpaw of keen defense with sharp technical counterpunches.
Angulo was thought by many to be slow, facing a dangerous matchup against Lara, due to his ring movement and boxing ability. Plus, Lara boasted an impressive 320+ amateur bouts, having never been dropped.
Lara started quick, moving well, doing a good job of absorbing Angulo’s shots with his arms and returning short quick counterpunches, marking up Angulo’s face.
Angulo, the apparent slower of the two fighters, seemed off step at times, due to Lara’s good footwork. However, Angulo kept working Lara’s body, finding a good rhythm that seemed to slow down Lara in the early rounds. Angulo’s ability to leverage hooks to the body and put in shots to the body seemed to make an impact on Lara. So much so, that Angulo was able to create space for his shots to the body and dropped Lara at 1:15 of 4th round with a left hook combo.
Following the knockdown, Lara kept busy, trying to recover by throwing busy shots to Angulos head and moving around the ring. Lara rebounded with great combinations, and seemed to comeback well in the 5th.
Lara’s jab and ability to keep Angulo away in the middle of the round was his best strategy, but Angulo would not succumb to the jab and kept pressuring, despite Lara’s combinations.
Angulo’s left-handed body blows to Lara were effective, causing Lara to lean in and protect his right side. Lara was forced to throw more punches to try and keep Angulo away. Combined with the body shots, Lara seemed tired at times.
The impact of Angulo’s pressure was evident again, when a left hook dropped Lara again in the 9th round. At his point in the fight it was clear that the fight would come down to a battle between the legs for Lara and endurance for Angulo.
The experience and maturity of Lara proved to serve him well, as he was able to stop Angulo in the 10th, with an apparent straight right and combo to the left of Angulo’s head. Out of nowhere, Angulo turned his head and body away from the fight, as if not wanting to fight anymore. This prompted the referee to stop the fight in the 10th, giving a TKO victory to Erislandy Lara.
Thoughts from the ringside medical doctor pointed to the potential of Angulo having a damaged left orbital bone, which would have caused the extreme pain and his inability to continue.
With Lara’s TKO bout, but an amazingly competitive fight, this now puts the junior-middleweight class in a curious position. As, it was thought that the winner of Lara/Angulo would be in a favorable position to face the likes of Miguel Cotto or Austin Trout.
Given the outcome of the fight, and Lara telling Jim Gray of Showtime that he would be willing to give a rematch to Angulo, it seems unlikely that Miguel Cotto would position himself in a comeback bout against another dangerous southpaw (having lost last to Austin Trout last December, a sleek southpaw himself).
Yet, a bout against Lara and Trout would prove to be interesting – two sleek and skillful southpaws, with good ring movement and defense.
Only time will tell, though the junior-middleweight class continues to be one of the most exciting and consistent divisions in boxing, both for fans and money-makers. Let’s just hope the quality matches from this division keep arising on cards of fight-nights, as fans consistently love the unrelenting enthusiasm from fighters in this class.