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Angulo Squares Off With Rivera In Big Test

By Dave Lahr: Unbeaten light middleweight contender Alfredo Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs) is an old fashioned Mexican fighter, a fighter that is similar to a bigger version of Julio Cesar Chavez and who likes to beat his opponents down with one big blockbuster shot after another. Tonight, Angulo finds himself in with veteran Cosme Rivera (31-11-2, 22 KOs) at the BankAtlantic Center, in Sunrise, Florida. Maybe Rivera has been in with fighters with better skills – speed, movement, jab and punch arsenal – than Angulo, but few if any have the work rate, and heart that he brings with him into the ring.

Rivera, 33, is the latest replacement opponent after two others – Ricardo Mayorga and Danny Perez – decided not to take the fight with him. Rivera may turn out to be just as good as the rest, which might not be enough to stay in there with Angulo for long because of his typical 100 punch per round average. Very few opponents can stand up to that kind of fire power, especially when it’s being delivered with a lot of power like the typical punches thrown by Angulo.

In his last two fights against first Richard Gutierrez and then Andrey Tsurkan were action packed beat downs by Angulo. The fight against Gutierrez, fought in May 2008, was especially exciting as Gutierrez staggered Angulo with a big right hand in the 5th round, but then got carried away with himself as he seemed to go a little overboard while trying to knock Angulo out, leaving his defense open and was promptly hurt by a big right hand from Angulo.

With Gutierrez now hurt, Angulo went after him with a flurry of shots ending with referee Tony Weeks stepping in between the two fighters and putting a stop to the fight at 2:48 of the round. The fight showed that Angulo is vulnerable to a big puncher like Gutierrez, which is made worse by the fact that Angulo often goes looking for early knockouts without seemingly caring about his own defense.

This is something that is going to need to change in the future if Angulo hopes to be a title holder, because there’s big sluggers out there like James Kirkland who’ll take his head off if he comes out looking to trade big shots the way he does with most of his opponents.

In Angulo’s last fight, he was matched against the Russian 31-year-old Tsurkan, a light punching contender known for his tendency to trade shots with his opponents. As it turned out, this was the perfect fighter for Angulo to look good against, because Tsurkan had little power or enough movement to take advantage of Angulo’s poor defense and slow ring movements.

Angulo would give Tsurkan a terrible beating for 10 rounds until the fight was finally stopped at 2:27 of the 10th. Angulo succeeded in showing off his excellent power, but the fight did little to show how Angulo will do against a fighter with good boxing skills like Sergio Martinez, Sergeii Dzinziruk or Vernon Forrest, or how Angulo will do against a big puncher like Kirkland.

Only until he fights those kinds of fighters will we learn what Angulo’s made of. His fight against Rivera tonight won’t prove anything, because Rivera is moving up in weight from the welterweight division, doesn’t have the power or the speed to stay competitive, and doesn’t move well enough to stay out of range of Angulo’s big power shots. It will give Angulo another chance to look good, but it won’t answer questions about his ability.

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