Is There a Dog in Canelo Alvarez?


    There comes a time in every human beings journey on earth when they are confronted with a real life situation. Some get it early in life through social circumstance from poverty or abuse. Others may get it later in life with a tragic death to a loved one.

    No matter what age adversity rears its ugly head everyone, relatively speaking of course, at some point has to quote “man up”. And with Canelo potentially suffering back to back losses, that time has come for the 23 year old Mexican star in the form of a hardened face first fighter who lives up to his nickname “El Perro” with his aggressive style in the ring.

    El Perro represents adversity for Canelo being the most powerful pressure fighter with size and good whiskers that young Saul has faced in his still budding career.

    Although Canelo is a major favorite on the books too come out of Saturday night’s fight victorious don’t let those betting odds, currently hovering around 4 or 5 to 1, fool ya.

    Yes, Canelo is the superior fighter from a skills standpoint and in all likelihood as long as he finishes the fight on his feet, should get the benefit of the doubt in close rounds from his super star status in the sport of few real crossover attractions.

    The thing is Alfredo Angulo is not there to win rounds he’s coming to Las Vegas to win the fight with a game changing punch or flurry.

    A big lead on the cards late in this battle will only motivate Angulo to increase his pressure, the pressure that should already be cooking once he uses the first few rounds to create a boil.

    Saying Canelo has never been tested as a fighter is ridiculous. Obviously, Alvarez was last seen in September over the Mexican Independence weekend getting tested at the highest level of the sport facing the pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather.

    His biggest mistake was the game plan he and his trainer chose that called for a chess match with the boxing version of  Bobby Fisher had Fisher lived up to his full potential as a child prodigy.

    The one positive that stuck with me in what was otherwise a virtual whitewashed by Mayweather, was Canelo consistently landing a solid shot to the body albeit after Floyd was on his way out from unloading his offense.

    Austin Trout was a challenge and to an extent Shane Mosley was a test of power as well, but “Sugar” never was all that sweet at 154 and his age only added to his disadvantages.

    Maybe the first round versus Jose Miguel Cotto, his fights with Lanardo Tyner, and Matthew Hatton will serve as a blueprint for Alfredo and his trainer Virgil Hunter.

    How much have both fighters improved in recent years? The answer can be tricky and might ultimately give us the winner of this Showtime PPV fight live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

    After not being really challenged for years than passing some previously mentioned tests Canelo has grown his skill set.

    We saw a very high work rate from him against Mosley. When taking a break on the ropes in the Austin Trout fight or in the middle of the ring, Canelo used some newfound head and upper body movement to quiet any late rallies Trout attempted to mount.

    The Trout performance from a “slick” sense although impressive, has to be tapered a bit from the fact that Austin Trout who is “no doubt” a good fighter but lacks a top level ability to come forward as seen in his fight with Erislandy Lara.

    Canelo has to be careful not outbox himself they way his did in the first 3 rounds versus Alfonso Gomez. Meaning there’s a chance that too much movement may be too far outside of Canelo’s comfort zone to the point it hurts him on both sides.

    Offensively not being able to set his feet and throw limiting his output. Defensively Alvarez being out of position stance wise, thus allowing Angulo more chances to land his left hook while Canelo is trying to just get away rather than moving with purpose, something the slick counterpuncher Erislandy Lara had some issues with.

    Even in a loss to Lara, Alfredo Angulo is coming of his best performance versus what could be his best opponent or at least the most complete fighter he has faced in his nine year career.

    Most thought Lara would win by landslide but that was not the case. The reason a majority including myself gave Angulo no more than a punchers chance was simple.

    Angulo is one dimensional fighter who hadn’t improved his strengths enough resulting in his weakness to be exploded quite easily every time he stepped up. Angulo can’t blame his critics with no real solid wins at 154 to speak of.

    After being detained by immigration upwards of nine months, Angulo created fireworks with a first round KO in his return from a full year out of the ring.

    The rust clearly showed in his next fight with the tough but limited Jorge Silva. What was billed as a showcase one sided type matchup for Alfredo turned into a barnburner making the dog bite down much harder than expected to get to the winners circle.

    Heading into the Lara fight many assumed Golden Boy was cashing out El Perro to help build Erislandy Lara’s brand for a possible future meeting with Canelo Alvarez.

    Angulo ate plenty of leather from the talented Cuban yet still managed to cut the ring off on Lara setting up his best punch which is a left hook to the body.

    Once the body work was established Angulo started landing up top eventually putting his combination of left hooks together first to the body than right on the kisser dropping Lara in rounds four and nine.

    An abrupt halt to the fight came in the 10th when Angulo turned away from the action due to a serious eye injury that swelled his left eye up in a short period of time.

    Any sizable improvements each man has made will be on full display and tested to the max. This fight will be action packed regardless of the outcome because of the boxer vs. puncher style matchup.

    The game plan seems simple for Angulo. Pressure breaks pipes and Alfredo will have to play the Mother Nature role making in too cold for Canelo freezing his pipes so to speak by trapping him on the ropes.

    I can’t wait to see what happens if Saul’s pipes do break from Angulo’s rage. Will Canelo remain patient and stick to a smart game plan? Could we see Canelo leading on the scorecards trying to close the show in front of 14,000 fans who will be screaming for bloody murder? In the past Canelo has shown he will throw caution to the wind in his fights with Mosley and Hatton.

    The key for Canelo is more complex but a busy stiff jab is a good place as any to build a strong foundation when the big bad wolf comes a knocking.

    After Canelo’s jab sets the table but he will need a steady diet of combination punches off that jab. Mixing up his combo’s both to the body and head, along with different pairings of punches will help keep Angulo guessing.

    Subtle movements after offense will be another key for Canelo if he wants to contain El Perro. Jabs followed by a straight rights hand than pivot or clinch should be rinsed and repeated throughout.

    If he circles Angulo similar to the way another Mexican great does and of course I speak of none other than Juan Manuel Marquez, his chances of taking a lot of collateral damage greatly lessens.

    There will come a time when Angulo will trap Canelo on the ropes. Only then will we see just how good young Alvarez is. Will he hide behind his ear muffs getting out worked or will he try to punch his way out off the ropes?

    Shane Mosley in early 2009 was for the most part first in his fight with Antonio “the brick layer” Margarito, who at the time was viewed as unbreakable.

    Mosley got big punches off first than used a quick clinch to turn Marg or smother him, while other times using the clinch to contain and/or  escape.

    With Canelo’s accuracy, speed, and timing copycatting Sugar Shane’s performance makes sense.

    Angulo’s best chance to land big punches if Canelo brings his “A” game might have to involve fainting to the body. If Angulo affects Alvarez to the body there will be plenty of opportunities for a faint to the body turning the punch upwards to the head with either hand.

    Canelo’s punching placement and busy work will create a whole too big to climb out of for Alfredo Angulo. This fight will be a busy entertaining fight and whichever way it swings in the end questions will be answered for both combatants.

    My official prediction is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by Unanimous Decision.  A technical stoppage is on the table with Angulo’s eye a possible issue stemming from his last fight.