Under most circumstances, it is not in a boxer’s best interest to go “toe to toe” with an opponent. In a sport where the object is to “hit and not get hit,” standing in front of your opponent and trading concussive blows is literally flirting with physical and fiscal disaster. And yet, there are a select few that not only live this boxing mini-game of Russian Roulette, but excel at it.
Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo is one of those fighters. He is equally brutal in victory as he is in the defeat. It was the latter, a vicious battle with Erislandy Lara, that has earned Angulo his first pay-per-view opportunity, a March 8 all-Mexican showdown against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. And while Canelo is the star attraction of this contest, Angulo explains to Knockout Nation how he’s learned a few new tricks to possibly score the first major boxing upset of 2013.
Knockout Nation: Although you consider the ending on your exciting fight with Erislandy Lara a fluke because of the eye injury, you can’t deny that you were taking flush left hands on the area from the opening bell. What have you done in this camp to address your defensive holes?
Angulo: Yes, my coach Virgil Hunter has tried to make sure that I’m ready for different things and attacks. I fought fighters like Lara who are incredibly talented. But my style is always to come in and fight. That’s why the fans like me, because I bring the fight to people. There are many ways you can fight. You can even fight in the ring and still avoid the actual fight. That’s not my style and that’s why the fans want to see me fight.
Knockout Nation: Getting hit in boxing is inevitable, but the very nature of the Sweet Science is to “hit and not get hit.” With that said, how accurate do you feel promotion’s “Toe to Toe” tagline is compared to how you expect the fight to go?
Angulo: I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not, but this is what the fans want. They know I’m prepared to fight. I don’t know if that will work for my opponent. I prepared to bring a real fight.
Knockout Nation: For Canelo, the knock on him has always been his punch output and stamina. Have you seen any improvements in his previous fights against Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout?
Angulo: Just a little, but I’m not underestimating him. He knows I put on a lot of pressure when I fight and I keep going and going. I’m sure he made the right adjustments to prepare for me.
Knockout Nation: You’re on record as stating Amir Khan was a tremendous help in your camp, and that you were able to start countering his speed by the end of your time together. That’s not something we’ve seen regularly in your game before. How were you able to do it?
Angulo: I’ve been working a lot with Amir, doing a lot of defensive work. Every time we spar, that’s the biggest area where I’ve improved. I firmly believe this will help me a lot when I face Canelo because he’s not faster than Amir. We’ve done a perfect training session together. You’ll see it on fight night.
Knockout Nation: Most people would assume that defense would have been the focus of your work with Andre Ward…
Angulo: Andre Ward is just an excellent fighter. His technique and style is just perfect. I worked a lot on my jab with him and that will help me a lot in getting Canelo uncomfortable. Since Khan and Ward have different styles, I’ll be able to handle anything Canelo brings. The benefit will shock a lot of people this Saturday.
Canelo vs. Angulo airs this Saturday (March 8) on Showtime pay-per-view at 9 p.m. ET.