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Angulo finally ready to return

By Francisco Salazar
Photos: Big Joe Miranda

For those who have come across Alfredo Angulo in the past, there are few times that make the soft-spoken Mexican smile. It was not winning his first fifteen bouts in a row, some by brutal knockout. It was not winning a world title belt against Harry Joe Yorgey. Watching Angulo crack a smile was when he was able to pick up his six year old daughter Rebecca on Tuesday afternoon at a media luncheon. It was an openness of affection that he was unable to do for over seven months, yet was eager to do for so long. That was because Angulo was at the El Centro Detention Center, located over 200 miles to the east of San Diego. Despite not having a criminal record while living in the United States, Angulo, who grew up across the border in Mexicali, found himself detained there.

Last Tuesday, Angulo, through the petition of his attorneys, management, and his promoter, finally won his freedom from the detention center. Now that he has since been released, he is eager to move on with his boxing career, one that was abruptly put on hold since his six round war with James Kirkland in November.

That could become reality for the fighter known as “El Perro” (Spanish for dog). There is a good chance that Angulo could fight not only once before the end of 2012, but multiple times.

“The plans are to get him ready to continue his career,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Angulo’s promoter. “If he wants to fight four to five times in a year, we will do that. We have the dates so that he will be able to do that. We want to see where he is at and how he feels physically and mentally.”

Angulo looked surprisingly fit at the media luncheon at a Mexican restaurant in East Los Angeles. With longer hair than the normally short cropped style people are accustomed to seeing, Angulo socialized after answering questions from the media.

Angulo could resent the fact that he was unjustly detained for seven months. However, Angulo does not resent anything or wish any ill will to anybody.

“I don’t hold any grudges,” said Angulo.

While being detained or incarcerated could psychologically break people done, it did not for Angulo. According to Angulo, what got him through his time in El Centro was his upbringing on the streets of Mexicali. At a young age, he had to fend for himself and took odd jobs to support himself while he grew up.

However, Angulo acknowledged taking joy and satisfaction from reading messages from fans on his twitter and facebook accounts. It was what got him through painstaking days of the repetition that he confronted at El Centro.

“I would wake up at 5AM, have breakfast, and then spend two hours outside. After that, we went back inside to our cell. They would do roll calls three more times in a day just to be accounted for.”

Angulo’s resolve also included having something that he claims God gave him: patience. He had faith that people working for him would work for his eventual release from El Centro.

He has faith in the justice system, but claims that the director at the detention center had too much authority. There was a period of months when Angulo was not allowed any visitors or have contact with anyone over the phone.

While he was fortunate to have attorneys work on his case, Angulo noticed that people did not have the luxury of having money to have people represent them in front of immigration judges.

That is why he wants to start a foundation, where people who are in similar circumstances are able to hire attorneys to assist in their cases.

Tuesday was a celebration for Angulo and his future, said De La Hoya, calling him “courageous” and “warrior.”

“I feel sorry for who has to face Angulo because he is going to come out swinging,” quipped De La Hoya. “We will take him to that world title relatively soon. He is hungry to get back on top.”

There is no word yet on who may train Angulo, as Nacho Beristain is out of the picture. However, that is the least of Angulo’s worries. His goal is to walk his daughter to school and to spend time with his family.

Family is Angulo’s passion, as he was all smiles with family and media at the luncheon on Tuesday. However, there is that part of Angulo that wants to regain his top form and to re-enter the super welterweight picture. There are a number of fights that could be made against top contenders and champion.

Winning a world title belt is high on Angulo’s list of priorities in boxing. Maybe he could crack a smile while doing it.

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