By Francisco Salazar
Smile, Alfredo Angulo. It is okay to show emotion after winning an interim world title. Although most fighters would jump up and down in elation of winning a championship belt, Angulo looked as though he had received 50 percent off a meal at his favorite restaurant. Then again, screaming at the top of his lungs or jumping into the arms of one of his corner men is not who Angulo is. It is just a job he does, to outbox the other opponent. Or in his bout against Harry Joe Yorgey, punish a fighter over almost three lopsided rounds before knocking him out cold, despite Yorgey bravely withstanding a barrage of heavy shots. Angulo will be back in action on Saturday night, as he defends his interim world title against hard-hitting Colombian Joel Julio at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA.
The bout, along with the Heavyweight clash between Tomasz Adamek and Chris Arreola, will be televised on HBO’s Boxing After Dark.
It has been over five months since Angulo was last seen in a boxing ring, doling out punishment against the brave Yorgey. With the exception of Kermit Cintron, whom defeated Angulo last May, Angulo has scored 13 knockouts in his last 13 victories. For those scoring at home, Manuel Alfonso Mada (3-13-5 at the time) can claim to be the last fighter to fight all rounds in defeat against Angulo, even if it was for only four rounds.
Now Angulo (17-1, 14 KO’s) will have a tall order in front of him on Saturday night. This will be Julio’s second crack at a world title. He lost a 12 rounds unanimous decision to Sergiy Dzinziruk in November of 2008, followed by a sixth round stoppage at the hands of James Kirkland four months later.
Julio won his most recent bout, a six round unanimous decision over veteran Clarence Taylor in October.
Angulo expects a tough bout from Julio, knowing that he will come into the bout well-prepared on Saturday.
“I know that he is a fighter that has power in his fists,” said Angulo, who has been training for this fight since January. “He is a good fighter who likes to come forward. That is his style, to come forward whereas I like to box. Whether he wants to stand and trade or box, I will be very prepared. This will be a good fight for the fans.”
Although one could not tell, Angulo felt a sense of pride of winning a title belt. Who wouldn’t? The time spent in the gym and hours of roadwork paid off for one of the more humble fighters in the sport.
Having a world title is nice, but Angulo knows that he is now a target in the talent-rich 154-pound division. It is for that reason that he does not slack off in the gym.
“I’m sincerely happy that I have a belt. But, I put in the same amount of work in the gym. My preparation in the gym has always been to fight as though I’m going for a world title. Now that I have a title, I know there are fighters who would want to challenge me. If there is a fighter that wants to fight me, then let’s make it happen.”
Angulo, who has mostly campaigned at 154 pounds since making his professional debut in January of 2005, is one of the best fighters in his weight class. Within the last year, fight fans and boxing scribes have put in their two cents about which of the fighters should match up in a Super Welterweight fight.
With Paul Williams now fighting at Super Welterweight for his May 8th fight against Kermit Cintron, there are numerous possibilities for certain matchups to take place. Angulo pointed out that the 154-pound weight class will see very significant fights in the near future.
“To me, there are a lot of potentially even fights at 154 pounds. This weight class is one of the strongest in boxing today. I just hope to be in the mix as well. There is strong competition out there.”
Speaking of Williams and Cintron, Angulo will also be watching this huge showdown taking place at the Home Depot Center in Carson. Angulo, who attends numerous fight cards in Southern California, predicted a winner, while in the meantime, offering a terse explanation.
“To me, Paul Williams will win the fight. I don’t think Cintron can beat him because of the talent Williams possesses. Cintron does not have a lot of heart.”
Angulo lost to Cintron last May in Hollywood, FL by a 12 round unanimous decision. It was a close fight that saw good two-way action between the two fighters, as Cintron started strong as Angulo came on late in the fight.
Although Angulo made it clear that he was sick entering the fight, he accepted defeat and has moved on to win two fights in a row and win an interim title. However, for Angulo, a fight with Cintron is not out of the question.
“I have moved on with my career and he has taken his own path after our fight. If he wants to fight me, then we can meet, even on his terms. I had an opportunity to watch an interview where he was asked about a rematch against me. He did not want to answer. He may have won the fight, but he knows that it will be difficult the next time because I will not be less than 100% when we step inside the ring.”
It is that fighting spirit and his ho-hum, no-nonsense attitude that has seen a big following for Angulo. Or maybe it is the difficult life Angulo had in his hometown of Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico that has created a following by working-class individuals and boxing fans. Before Angulo represented Mexico in the 2004 Athens Olympics, he had a number of jobs to support himself and his family, from being a butcher to delivering pizza.
Angulo takes what he did in stride. He attributes his work ethic inside the gym to what he did in his jobs throughout his life. Although he does not have to cutting meat anymore because boxing pays his bills, he takes what he did in stride, almost in a shy manner.
“My fights in the ring are like what happens in real life. It’s the same in my opinion. I just give my best in the ring. It’s just my job. I am very grateful to the fans that I have and meet on a regular basis.”
If Angulo earns a victory over Julio, maybe Angulo can then crack a smile.