Photos by Sumio Yamada
ALFREDO ANGULO vs GABRIEL ROSADO
When unbeaten fighters lose, the usual reaction is to regard them as having been overrated.
â€¨It wasnt always this way. Years ago, undefeated records were not considered particularly important fighters records were not even announced during the MCs introductions. A loss was considered part of the learning process, and not necessarily a serious setback as long as the boxer had fought well.
Alfredo Angulo did suffer a setback, and there's no denying it, when the Mexican junior middleweight was outpointed by Kermit Cintron in May. This was a fight that Angulo was expected to win, but the more experienced Cintron outboxed and outsmarted him.
What is important is how Angulo comes back from his first defeat. There were extenuating circumstances in his loss to Cintron in that Angulo was known to have been under the weather before the fight viewers were alerted to this in the HBO commentary. Angulos manager, Mike Criscio, was so concerned about him, he told me, that he asked the fighter if he wished to pull out.
Fighters often get in the ring when not feeling their best, though, and hope that everything will work out once the first bell rings and many times it does. Angulo did his best, but it wasnt enough. Cintron fought one of his sharpest fights, and at the end of 12 rounds it wasnt even close on the judges cards.
Maybe Cintron would have beaten Angulo on the Mexican boxers best night. We will never know. Angulo did seem a bit lacklustre and lacking his usual intensity, but on the night, Cintron was the better man.
The fight was certainly a learning experience for Angulo, and it wasnt a disaster. He showed an excellent chin and he kept trying to win. Now he has to put it behind him, and he takes his first step back when he meets capable and gritty Gabriel Rosado in the 10-round main event on Friday Night Fights.
This is not an easy fight for Angulo, although he is the clear favourite. Rosado, a 23-year-old from Philadelphia, is coming into the fight fresh from his biggest win, a split decision over former champ Kassim Ouma. He has won six of his last seven fights, and his only loss in this sequence was a moral victory when he fought Fernando Guerrero right down to the wire and even dropped the unbeaten prospect in a gruelling fight.
Rosado is a much improved boxer, as he showed when stopping Joshua Onyango to avenge an early loss. He caused a surprise when outboxing the Irish crowd pleaser James Moore and it looked as if he was on his way to an upset win when he dumped Guerrero with a right hand in the third round but, handicapped by a swollen eye, he was a bit overwhelmed at the end.
I think that Rosado is a good test for Angulos return after suffering his first loss. Rosado moves well, punches with good form and is taller and faster than Angulo, and he is a young, ambitious fighter who believes in himself and is coming to win.
Angulo, though, has something to prove, which is that the bout with Cintron isnt a true reflection of his potential.
While Angulo is hittable and a bit predictable, he is also strong, insistent and heavy handed. Before the loss to Cintron he was looking like a formidable force, banging through his opponents in an exciting manner. The other man might have been able to hit him and steady him, but Angulo was too powerful and relentless for everyone until he ran into Cintron.
Angulo knows what is expected of him in this fight, which is an impressive victory inside the distance. This is what he needs to get the train rolling again.
Rosado will, I think, be moving and boxing, looking to hit Angulo and then get out of the way. He has the ability and mobility to do this for a while, at least.
Gradually, though, I think that Angulo will methodically close in on him and start to land his heavy hooks and right hands. Rosado will fight back when under pressure but he seems to me to be outgunned, and I am not sure he will be able to hold off Angulo when the fight gets into the later rounds.
I believe that Rosado will be competitive and wage a worthy fight, but Angulo looks just too strong. I can see Angulo wearing down and overpowering a game opponent in about eight rounds.