LOS ANGELES – Golden Boy Promotions proudly announced the return of one of their junior middleweight contenders just a few days after learning they might lose another.
Alfredo Angulo, THE RING’s No.-9 ranked 154-pound fighter, was greeted by a small gathering of boxing media at the La Serenata de Garibaldi restaurant on Tuesday, just one week after being released from the El Centro Detention Center in El Centro, Calif., where the Mexico native had been held for immigration matters.
Angulo (20-2, 17 knockouts), who had been detained since January, had not been seen by the boxing public since last November when he lost a thrilling six-round shootout with fellow junior middleweight slugger James Kirkland, who recently filed a law suit seeking separation from Golden Boy Promotions, his managers and trainers.
Angulo had allowed his visa to expire and had overstayed his time in the U.S., a violation of immigration law. He could have been deported back to Mexico but he turned himself into the detention center in hopes that the matter could be worked out. The 30-year-old veteran wishes to remain in California, where he’s lived and trained since he turned pro in January of 2005 following his participation in the 2004 Olympic Games.
Angulo also has a 6-year-old daughter who lives in Southern California.
“The most difficult thing about being detained was not being able to see my daughter,” Angulo told RingTV.com. “It was even more hurtful for her.”
Ironically, Angulo’s court case was handled in part by Michael Miller, who also co-manages Kirkland. While the manager/attorney’s relationship with Kirkland is obviously strained at the moment, his bond with Angulo has never been stronger.
“It’s satisfying finally seeing Alfredo free and able to resume his life and career after spending eight months in a place he didn’t belong,” said Miller, who has worked with Angulo for the past two years.
“A lot of people ran out on him once he got into this legal trouble and the director of the facility did his best to make things difficult. He was being a hardass. But I wasn’t going to quit and Alfredo wouldn’t give up.”
Despite the brutal stoppage loss to Kirkland, Angulo has too much potential not to fight in the U.S.
Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya believes the heavy handed pressure fighter can be back in title contention by the end of the year.
“We know Angulo can get back on track fairly quickly,” De La Hoya said. “If he wants to fight four or five times this year, we’re ready and willing to allow him to do that. We have the dates.
“We’ll get him a tune-up fight as early as next month if he’s ready to go and then his next fight will be against a top contender, a guy who will push him to his limits.”
Angulo will need to settle on a new trainer first. Nacho Beristain, who trained him for the Kirkland fight, is out, and he wouldn’t mention the name of his former trainer Clemente Medina. Angulo hinted that he believes Medina turned his back on him when he fell into a legal trouble.
“I have to find a new trainer,” Angulo said through translator Miguel Salazar. “If I had a trainer already I’d be looking at fighting next month. As soon as I have a trainer I want to have a fight scheduled.
“There’s a lot of good fighters out there for me to fight. I don’t know who’s next for me but whenever you see ‘Perro’ Angulo in the ring you’re going to see a great fight. I do this for the fans, as I’ve done since my first fight and will continue until I retire.”
Angulo, whose thick black hair was longer than usual and slicked back in a way that made him look like actor Josh Brolin, appears very fit, almost close to his fighting weight.
However, being at fighting weight is not the same as being in fighting shape. De La Hoya knows this.
“I want him to have a tune-up bout, there’s no secret about that; it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “I want to see how he looks and how he feels and then we’ll make our next move.
“The 154-pound division is stacked. There’s (IBF beltholder Cornelius) Bundrage, there’s Austin Trout, we have (WBC titleholder Saul Alvarez) Canelo and (Erislandy) Lara, who will fight Vanes (Martirosyan). And there’s Miguel Cotto, who we’re working with for his next fight in December.
“Who knows? Maybe there’s a rematch with Kirkland.”
Video / Daniel Morales and Dominic Verdin