Angulo vs. Tsurkan On Saturday
By Manuel Perez: Undefeated light middleweight contender Alfredo Angulo (13-0, 10 KOs) takes on what is likely his biggest test of his young career on Saturday night against top ranked Andrey Tsurkan (26-3, 17 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round bout at the Pechanga Resort & Casino, in Temecula, California. This fight matches two fighters with a similar nonstop punching style, who get by with furious unrelenting attacks on their opponents. However, Angulo is the much harder puncher of the two, and by far the more dangerous fighter, and the one with the biggest upside.
Angulo, 26, a former Olympian for the 2004 Mexican team, is ranked #6th in the WBO, 10 in the WBC and #13rh in the IBF. He has big power and a work rate reminiscent of WBO welterweight champion Antonio Margarito, only slightly slower than Margarito. However, Angulo more than makes up for his lack of speed by having crushing power and good punching technique. Although it’s still a little premature to make predictions about his career considering he’s only fought 13 times, he appears to have the talent to be a future champion. His management team haven’t been shy about putting him in with good competition, that’s for sure.
So far, he’s faced Archak TerMeliksetian, Ricardo Cortes and Richard Gutierrez in back to back fights, stopping all of them well inside the distance. In his last fight, a 5th round stoppage against Gutierrez in May, Angulo came back from being hurt by a big left hook in the round by Gutierrez and returned the favor with a powerful right hook later moments later, badly hurting Gutierrez. Angulo was then able to take the Columbian out with a flurry of hard shots.
Angulo’s opponent for this Saturday, the 30 year-old Tsurkan, is ranked #9 in the WBC and #12 in the WBA, and is known for his high work rate and high pressure offense. Tsurkan doesn’t have much power to speak of, but he makes up for it by throwing a lot of punches and wearing down his opponents over the course of his bouts. He’s coming off easily the best win of his career, an 8th round TKO over the usually durable Jesse Feliciano in April. Feliciano, one of the toughest welterweights in the division, was dropped once in the first round, and then battered and beaten until the 8th when he was stopped by a barrage of punches by the busy Tsurkan.
In the end, it was a case of Tsurkan’s continuous onslaught being too much for the normally hard-chinned Felicano to withstand. It didn’t help Felicano’s case that he was coming off a hard knockout loss to Kermit Cintron in a previous bout only five months earlier. Before his fight with Felicano, Tsurkan lost a controversial 12-round split decision loss to Yuri Foreman in December 2007, a fight in which Tsurkan appeared to win the fight by at least two to three rounds. Foreman ran all over the ring, trying to avoid Tsurkan’s exchanges and did little to warrant getting the decision.
In June 2006, Tsurkan stopped Hector Camacho Jr. with a flurry of punches in an 8th round stoppage. At the time, Camacho Jr. was still something of a contender, but he wilted under the nonstop punches from Tsurkan.
Look for both fighters to go right at each other from the opening bell with neither showing any kind of real movement other than forwards and backwards. This is the wrong kind of opponent for Tsurkan to go up against, however, because of Angulo’s huge power. Tsurkan doesn’t know how to back off, and will probably get mowed down while trying to trade shots with the much heavier punching Angulo.
Because of Tsurkan’s aggressive style of fighting, I don’t expect this fight to last long. He’ll stand right in front of Angulo, a bad thing to do against a fighter with as much power as him, and end up catching something really big and getting stopped. Although Tsurkan has an excellent chin, there’s a limit to how much punishment a person can take and on Saturday night, we’ll quickly find out what Tsurkan’s limit is.