You won’t find too many men of action like Alfredo Angulo.
Sure, in the sport of boxing, one could find plenty of guys with the insatiable appetite to devour one shot just to throw two in return. Undoubtedly, Angulo has fit the bill in that regard, having been dubbed “El Perro” for his dogged determination and becoming one of the most highly respected sluggers in the business.
But it’s what the 154-pound star does outside the ring that defines the initial description. With the cause he currently champions, it’s easy to forget that the man has a day job—one that has him contending for the WBA junior middleweight interim world title this Saturday against Erislandy Lara (Showtime, 7 p.m. PT).
“He’s the type of guy you would go to war with,” said Virgil Hunter, who trains the 30-year-old Angulo out of Hayward. “With everything he’s been through and the way he’s handled it all, he has nothing but my admiration and respect.”
When his work visa expired in 2010, Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs), a Mexican national, turned himself into an immigration detention center in El Centro last year under the impression that his stay would be brief. However, despite having no prior criminal record, he ended up spending seven months locked up in Southern California until a legal team was eventually able to resolve the issue.
“I was there because the director [of the center] wanted to keep me there,” Angulo said. “He wouldn’t even let me exercise or train when I was there…He told me he was never going to let me out.”
But while most people would want to forget such an ordeal, Angulo has done the opposite. Since his liberation, he has not only raised awareness of immigration issues by sharing his story with the national media, he has also brought to his lawyers various cases of those still stuck in El Centro with predicaments similar to the one he faced behind bars.
“I could probably study law now after going through all of it,” Angulo said when he was initially released. “There were a lot of people I met who were in for reasons just like mine but don’t have the money to pay for a legal defense, and so, I want to do what I can to help.”
As for Saturday, Angulo has quite a task before him in Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs), a 30-year-old Cuban southpaw whose only loss was a majority decision to Paul Williams that has been universally panned by everyone but the three judges who scored the fight.
“Angulo’s a big-name guy,” Lara told BoxingScene.com’s Luis Sandoval. “This is definitely a fight that can catapult me. I’ve had a lot of good fights, been on the wrong end of those decisions, but this is the one.”
Lara is slick as oil, entering the matchup with superior handspeed and a reach advantage of almost four inches. However, Hunter feels that the Cuban has limitations that can be exploited.
“Lara’s a good fighter, but he fights out of that [Cuban amateur] system,” Hunter said. “He won’t stray too far from that, and so, we know what to expect.”
It could be said that Lara will likewise know what’s coming from Angulo—nonstop pressure from pillar to post. However, Hunter argues that beneath his fighter’s free-flowing moptop, there’s a brainy brawler capable of winning the battle of the minds as well.
“Alfredo’s going to surprise some people and show that he’s more than just [a brawler],” Hunter said. “He’s a lot smarter in the ring than people give him credit for, and he’s going to use his intelligence to wear Lara down.”
FAIRFIELD PAIR ON SAME UNDERCARD
Angulo won’t be the only fighter in Carson with Bay Area ties. Before “El Perro” takes the ring against Lara, Fairfield’s Alan Sanchez and Manuel “Tino” Avila will face separate opponents on the non-televised portion of the undercard, riding a combined 18-bout winning streak in the process.
Avila (11-0, 4 KOs), a 21-year-old junior featherweight who loves to double and triple his left hook inside, will take on St. Louis native Jamal Parram (6-7-1, 4 KOs), a former sparring partner of San Leandro’s Nonito Donaire.
“It’s been six months, but it wasn’t six months of me being out of a gym, but rather, in it,” Avila said. “We’ll show them what we do over here in NorCal.”
Sanchez (12-2-1, 6 KOs) has knocked out four of his last five rivals and also hopes to shake off some ring to open his 2013 campaign. His opponent has yet to be named.
“I haven’t fought in a while, but I’ve been staying in shape and I’m ready to go,” Sanchez said. “Maybe after this one, I’ll get a big fight.”
PEREZ SIGNS WITH TOP RANK
Alejandro Perez became the third Northern California fighter in the past two weeks to ink a major promotional deal, as the North Salinas junior lightweight joined Top Rank’s stable.
Perez (17-3-1, 11 KOs) has been inching closer toward the NorCal Pound-for-Pound Top 10 after his upset victory on Showtime against previously unbeaten Art Hovhannisyan. Per BoxingScene.com, Perez will return July 13 on UniMás.