Kickoff Press Conference In L.A.!
CANELO. ANGULO. Two Mexican warriors. Two fighters looking for a win after being defeated in their last bouts (Alvarez vs. Mayweather and Angulo vs. Lara).
The pair of punchers will go to war on March 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Their battle is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Promotions and will air on Showtime PPV. At Tuesday’s press conference, the combatants officially kicked off their upcoming war in Vegas.
Holding court at the Los Angeles Central Library, a throng of media and a large contingent of fans lined up to see the fighters take to the stage.
It was a first-class affair at this well-attended presser. We first gathered at Cafe Pinot Restaurant before the introductions and speeches got underway in the outdoor plaza in downtown L.A. The weather was perfect, the mood was festive, the anticipation high. While chatting with others in the media corp, it was clear we were all looking forward to kicking off a great 2014 in boxing.
And this “Toe to Toe” bout between two popular stars in the fight game is just what everyone needs to start a brand new year of marquee matchups.
Joining red-haired superstar Canelo Alvarez, 23, and popular Mexicali slugger Alfredo “Perro” Angulo, 31, were their respective trainers and camps, Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer, Showtime‘s Stephen Espinoza and undercard fighters Leo Santa Cruz, Cristian Mijares and Ricardo “Dinamita” Alvarez (Canelo’s older brother), who will be fighting Omar Figueroa.
There was something for everyone at this boxing gathering. A live Mariachi band played as fans waited to see their idols, film highlights of the fighters on screen, and autograph gloves and T-shirt giveaways by radio personality Tattoo. There was even a special guest, a muscular canine brought on stage by Team Perro. Fittingly, the dog’s name is “Hitman” and he is from the International Bully Kennel Club. The club’s founder Memo Ocampo told me Hitman is one of their breeds in the organization. Angulo is known for wearing a dog collar in his walkouts while often bringing pit bulls into the ring.
And preceding the press conference, Alfredo Angulo cut about 12 inches of his hair off to donate to the nonprofit Locks of Love organization.
Then the prizefighters all took their turns at the mic–and all promised fireworks in the ring come March 8.
The stacked undercard will also showcase Carlos Molina vs. Jermall Charlo and also a free airing of the Jorge Linares-Nihito Arakawa scrap going down at the MGM.
The main event of Canelo (42-1-1, 30 KOs) and Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) already has legions of fans waging their own verbal war to see whose cheers were the loudest. Alvarez acknowledged their loud support saying with a smile that while his foe has a lot of fans, Canelo fans are “better.” Wearing copper shades during his time at the dais, the ginger-haired powerhouse took off the sunglasses when it came time for the stare down.
“Perro” Angulo didn’t trash talk with his ring rival, preferring to let his fists do the talking when they go toe to toe, mano a mano.
Fan fave Canelo was defeated by Floyd Mayweather last September after securing victories over Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez, Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron, Alfonso Gomez, Matthew Hatton and more. With Angulo, he is getting a solid 154-pounder and a come-forward aggressor. Alfredo’s last time in the ring was a stoppage by Erislandy Lara back in June 2013. Ahead on one judge’s scorecard, his trainer Virgil Hunter says “Perro” would’ve got the win if not for the eye injury and subsequent TKO ruling in round 10.
On March 8, they two boxing stars will collide in a match scheduled for 12 rounds.
Will it go the distance? If not, who will be the knockout king in this clash?
The favorite in the game is Canelo but Perro’s most loyal fans are pinning hopes that their hero can score an upset victory.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has youth on his side, a confident air and 19 more pro bouts than Angulo has in experience. With a win over Angulo, Canelo can book more title shots and keep his massive ascent in the boxing universe soaring. Should Alfredo score a win over his nemesis, the underdog will stay relevant as a viable contender for future championship fights and wants to prove you can never count this dog out.
Judging from the fan reaction gathered in the plaza, both fighters have their fair share of loyal supporters.
One young man got a special shout out from Perro. Angulo’s biggest fan may be in a wheelchair but that doesn’t stop him from attending Alfredo’s fights. On the way out of the press conference, I met this longtime fan and his family. They told me they first saw Angulo fight several years ago at Chumash Casino back in 2007. With a fighting spirit, the boxer bonded with this loyal fan who is counting down the days till the March feud.
The countdown begins for Canelo vs. Angulo. The blast-off is scheduled for March 8 in the Mecca of Boxing, the MGM Grand in Vegas.
CANELO. ANGULO. TOE TO TOE. MAY THE BEST MAN WIN.
Photos by Michele Chong
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