The 31-year-old puncher from Mexicali, Mex., Angulo (22-3, 18 knockouts) shares California-based trainer Virgil Hunter with former junior welterweight beltholder Amir Khan and RING 168-pound champion Andre Ward.
Sessions with Khan helped Angulo to make adjustments for speed, while those with Ward improved his resolve against a larger fighter whose skills and technique Angulo believes are superior to those of Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs).
"Amir and Andre told me that I'm ready. They told me this is my time," said Angulo, who will face Alvarez Angulo on Showtime Pay Per View from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, site of Alvarez's first career loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September. "I'm ready now, and I will give the fans my best performance against Canelo. You will see the best Alfredo Angulo on Saturday."
In his last bout, in June, Angulo scored two knockdowns during a brutal and dramatic 10th-round stoppage loss to southpaw Erislandy Lara.
Alvarez is ready to make it two losses in a row for Angulo.
"I'm just happy to be back in the ring. It's a tough fight, but I'm very confident. I learned a lot from fighting Floyd, but I'm ready to get back in the ring to maintain the path that I was on before," said Alvarez, 23.
"This is what I love to do. I live to fight, and we're ready for Saturday. I'm fully concentrated on this fight. What happened in September is in the past. I'm focused on Saturday and Angulo. I'm here for the fans. That's what I fight for."
Angulo is equally motivated to be in a crowd-pleasing affair.
"Every fight is important, but this one is more special because all of the fans in Mexico will know that the winner of this fight is the No. 1 Mexican fighter," said Angulo.
"It's a huge fight for Mexico, and it's a huge fight for Canelo and me. Everyone can have their own opinion on who will win the fight. My fans know what I do in the ring and they know what to expect on Saturday night. My hand will be raised."
Below are the results of a RingTV.com poll of 24 boxing insiders, who expressed their thoughts on who will win Alvarez-Angulo.
Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Alfredo Angulo: The biggest and most obvious question going into this fight is where Canelo Alvarez's confidence level is. Stylistically, Alfredo Angulo is tailor-made for a high profile comeback opponent of choice, but a hesitant Canelo could get eaten alive.
The first few rounds should be interesting from that perspective, but I expect Alvarez to turn a corner by around the fourth or fifth round, remaining in control but "settling" for a wide win despite his best efforts to deliver a knockout.
Record: 3-2 [Last pick: Chavez UD 12 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Alfredo Angulo: I think this will be a tough fight for Alvarez, even though he's the younger, fresher, faster and more versatile fighter with more big-fight experience. That's because Canelo has never faced a true presure fighter with heavier hands, greater strength, arguably more will power and the heavier man on fight night. I think Angulo's pressure and physical might will test the young former champ. I see Alvarez getting rocked early and maybe late in a competitive and entertaining fight, but I think he'll control the distance and pace (with his jab and lateral movement) for much of the bout and score more telling blows, busting up the 2004 Olympian's face and maybe hurting the older man to the body. At the end of 12 tough rounds, I think a bloodied but unbowed Alvarez will have clearly won seven or eight.
Record: 3-1 [Last pick: Chavez UD 12 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez TKO 7 Alfredo Angulo: After being thoroughly outclassed by Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo Alvarez needs a fight that will put the luster back into his drawing power. In Alfredo Angulo, he’s got the right guy to do exactly that.
Angulo is likable for reasons that make him vulnerable. He moves forward. He gets hit too often. He cuts and bruises easily. He has a blue-collar, fan-friendly style, which also happens to be the perfect fit for Canelo to stage an impressive comeback.
Angulo's one-punch power gives him that proverbial chance. But it's one-dimensional, which means Canelo will have multiple opportunities to break down and bust up Angulo as he seeks to land the big one.
Record: 4-2 [Last pick: Chavez TKO 8 Vera]
Alfredo Angulo TKO 10 Canelo Alvarez: There are a few important things to keep in mind about this fight. First, Canelo Alvarez is really a boxer, not a slugger. This is why he was so ineffective against Floyd Mayweather last year. Canelo tried to out-box the best boxer in the world.
The result was a de facto shutout in which Canelo barely laid a glove on his pound-for-pound protagonist. Second, Alfredo Angulo is a slugger, but he can hang with a top boxer as evidenced by his impressive performance against slick southpaw Erislandy Lara. The underdog Angulo sat his counterpart down not once, but twice, with left hooks before ultimately submitting to the Cuban.
There is also the recent trend of A-side Golden Boy stars getting knocked off by rugged Latino B-siders in need of career re-defining wins. Jhonny Gonzalez did it against Abner Mares, Marcos Maidana upset Adrien Broner, and Luis Collazo knocked out Victor Ortiz. This is a trend I could not help but notice, and I expect it to continue.
Under the guidance of cerebral trainer Virgil Hunter, Angulo will out-box the boxer early and then out-slug Canelo "toe-to-toe" late when Alvarez starts to get desperate because he is behind on the cards. With Canelo taking one-way traffic in a corner after an Angulo knockdown, the referee will have no choice but to jump in and call a halt. Every dog has his day, they say, and March 8 will belong to "El Perro" Angulo.
Record: 5-1 [Last pick: Chavez W 12 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Alfredo Angulo: I like Canelo Alvarez. Alfred Angulo is one of the great tough men, but he might not have much left for the younger Alvarez.
Record: 2-0 [Last pick: Chavez W 12 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez TKO 6 Alfredo Angulo: Floyd Mayweather could exploit Canelo Alvarez’s flaws. He could locate distance to use his defensive finesse, mastery of range and reflexes to outfox the younger man.
Alfredo Angulo cannot do any of that, and I expect Alvarez to smash his countryman before the midway point.
Canelo has more skills than Angulo, and hits hard enough to reduce his opponent’s vaunted aggression over time. This is good match-making by Golden Boy Promotions, and I expect the young phenom to shine.
Record: 4-2 [Last pick: Chavez UD 12 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Alfredo Angulo: The key to victory is the same for both guys — force the opponent to fight at an uncomfortable pace.
Alfredo Angulo, who likes to throw tons of punches, must force Canelo Alvarez into a high-octane firefight that would, in theory, open him up to punches that normally wouldn't get to land.
Alvarez, on the other hand, must slow Angulo's pace to a more manageable and comfortable level, which would allow Alvarez's superior all-around skills to come to the fore.
Canelo is the more versatile fighter, and at 23, he is eight years younger and boasts an enviable blend of youth and experience. I believe he will find a way to neutralize Angulo's pressure and win a fairly comfortable decision.
Record: 2-1 [Last pick: Chavez W 12 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Alfredo Angulo: This is the fight where we will know whether Canelo Alvarez learned anything in his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. My guess is that he learned a lot. There's no shame in losing to Mayweather, and considering that the red-headed Mexican is only 23, he hasn't come close to reaching his full potential.
Alfredo Angulo, on the other hand, has likely just about maxed out his potential. We know what he's going to bring to the table, and it's going to give Canelo all he can handle. However, Canelo should pull this out in an exciting showdown that could be an early candidate for fight of the year.
If Angulo is eagerly persistent, which I anticipate, a calm Canelo will take advantage of his lapses in the mid-to-late rounds that should feature furious exchanges that test Canelo's heart. But the crisper combinations and body work from Alvarez will pay off in dividends to pull ahead on the scorecards late and take the decision.
Record: 5-1 [Last pick: Chavez TKO 9 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez UD12 over Alfredo Angulo: This fight should unfold exactly as designed, with Canelo Alvarez thoroughly out-boxing a game-but-overmatched Alfredo Angulo.
While Angulo is an above-average puncher, Alvarez's chin is one of his best assets. That strength will encourage him to trade with Angulo, which will make for some exciting exchanges.
But those moments will amoount to nothing that will prevent Alvarez from winning convincingly in his first fight since suffering a lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Record: 4-2 [Last pick: Chavez UD 12 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Alfredo Angulo: Alfredo Angulo is one thing: Tough. Canelo has the best training, nutrition, sparring and match-making money can buy. Canelo is pretty fast, but not real fast. He hits pretty hard, but not real hard. He moves pretty well, but not real well.
This should be a good action fight that could springboard Canelo into a big time fight agian with some big name. If not for the promotional in-fighting, Canelo vs. Sergio Martinez might be a possibility after Martinez's likely victory over Miguel Cotto.
Angulo should test Canelo's stamina and resolve, but I see Canelo being good enough to slide by "El Perro's" early onslaught and take a fairly one-sided unanimous decision that will feature some exciting moments. The only chance Angul has is a knockout.
Record: 1-2 [Last pick: Chavez KO 9 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez W12 Alfredo Angulo: Canelo Alvarez is coming off a wide decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., but I doubt the defeat has diminished the redhead's psyche in any way. Alfredo Angulo is a formidable opponent based on his pressure, punching power and the type of grit to make most men eventually submit.
"El Perro" also showed he can break through fighters known to favor chess matches like Erislandy Lara, though an eye injury foiled the Mexican's chance at a victory. Here, however, I think we'll see the Canelo who expertly dismantled (an albeit past-prime) Shane Mosley, boxing well and using his jab to keep Angulo at bay while setting up his own offense.
Canelo Alvarez TKO-8 Alredo Angulo: First of all, I really like the fight. It is a fan's fight, and there won't be any wanting for action. Both men will have their moments, and while Alfredo Angulo is fresh, those may very well be big moments for Perro.
However two things will prove significant: 1) Canelo Alvarez is the fresher fighter with far fewer battles, so he is the better choice in a battle of attrition. 2) Perro will get busted up and present a bloody presence. I suspect Canelo will wear down Angulo in a very exciting fight and stop him mid-bout.
Record: 4-2 [Last pick: Chavez TKO 9 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez KO 11 Alfredo Angulo: Canelo Alvarez is out to prove he is better than he was in the Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight. Tough guy Alfredo Angulo won't be able to break him down. Canelo is strong and Angulo will be right there. Alvarez by late-round, say, in the 11th.
Record: 1-1 [Last pick: Chavez W 12 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez TKO 10 Alfredo Angulo: Both Canelo Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo lost their last bouts. Alvarez was outclassed by pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, while Angulo suffered a 10th round stoppage at the hands of heavily- favored Erislandy Lara.
Record: 4-2 [Last pick: Chavez TKO 11 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez TKO 7 Alfredo Angulo: I may be one of the rare few who actually think that this will be a one-sided fight. I think the fans and media are way overrating Canelo Alvarez's propensity to engage in a brawl. When have you ever seen him in that type of fight before?
Maybe I'm wrong and Alvarez will want to sit and engage with Alfredo Alfredo, but I think Canelo is smart enough to know when and where he should do that and against Angulo, he won't.
Angulo is right there to be hit, and Alvarez will oblige him by banging him to the head and body before getting out of the way of return fire. Let's say Alvarez wins by mid-round stoppage.
Record: 4-1 [Last pick: Chavez W 12 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Alfredo Angulo: I like Canelo Alvarez to overcome a few rocky moments on his way to a comeback win over Alfredo Angulo.
Canelo's advantages are easy to see but, I think Angulo might be a little overlooked. Angulo's power alone makes him dangerous in this contest.
Record: 1-2 [Last pick: Chavez W 12 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez KO Alfredo Angulo: Alfredo Angulo has some heavy wear on the tires and should play into Canelo Alvarez's desire to counter. That said, he pushed a superior boxer to the limit in Erislandy Lara.
Alvarez hasn't faced a ton of legit, physical Jr. middleweights. The upset isn't impossible, but Alvarez is likely too sharp and closes a good fight late.
Record: 3-3 [Last pick: Chavez KO Vera]
Canelo Alvarez KO 9 Alfredo Angulo: Canelo Alvarez wants to make up for his piss-poor performance against Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Alfredo Angulo is the perfect foil.
For one, Angulo will be there to hit. For another, Angulo may have all the guts and heart in the world, but he can't match Alvarez's talent. It should be a great fight between two guys who aren't afraid of taking two to land one.
Record: 2-0 [Last pick: Garcia W 12 Burgos]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Alfredo Angulo: I have Canelo Alvarez rebounding well with an impressive but hard fought decision over Alfredo Angulo.
I think he will look good enough that people will realize how not looking good against Floyd Mayweather doesn't mean you arent still very capable.
Record: 3-0 [Last pick: Garcia KO Burgos]
Canelo Alvarez UD12 Alfredo Angulo: Although I believe Alfredo Angulo is a live dog, the most likely scenario is that Canelo Alvarez out-boxes him in an impressive comeback win. Angulo is always dangerous because of his ability to punch, but Canelo should be able to use his advantage in speed and boxing ability to stay out of harm's way.
Angulo will be dangerous early, but Canelo figures to be cautious until he feels that Angulo has slowed down. For Angulo to win, he will have to pressure Alvarez and break his will, which is possible. But I see a distance fight with Alvarez winning a fairly close decision.
Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Garcia UD 12 Burgos]
Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Alfredo Angulo: Although Alfredo Angulo has the power edge and loves to go toe-to-toe with his opponents, he has never been able to beat his most elite opponents.
He won’t do it this time either, as Canelo Alvarez is determined to prove, coming off his decisive loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., that he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Alvarez has a good chin, but I don’t see him getting into a war with Angulo. He will out-box Angulo, and throw plenty of hard punches when he needs to.
Remember, this is still Mexican versus Mexican. Neither fighter is what you'd consider quick, but Canelo is quicker, and that will make the difference in this one. A fun fight to watch, but Alvarez wins by unanimous decision.
Alfredo Angulo TKO 10 Canelo Alvarez: Canelo Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo are each trying to rebound from losses. The question is, which of the fighters aquitted himself better than the other in his last fight.
My thought is that Angulo was more active and effective during his fight with Erislady Lara, scoring two knockdowns before the end of a 10th-round stoppage loss.
In losing to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., however, Canelo didn't look as well, even though he wasn't blasted out of the fight.
I just think that Angulo is going to have a better game plan for Canelo, under the guidance of trainer Virgil Hunter, and I think that Angulo will stop Canelo inside of 10 rounds.
Record: 2-2 [Last pick: Chavez TKO 7 Vera]
Charles Villa, guest/fan, Portland, Ore.
Alfredo Angulo UD 12 Canelo Alvarez: Even though Saul "Canelo" Alvarez has won the hearts and minds of thousands of people, he hasn't faced many legitimate threats at 154 aside from Austin Trout and Floyd Mayweather Jr. But with those two being technical fighters, there's a question of how he would deal with pressure fighters that have genuine power.
You have to admit that Matthew Hatton, Ryan Rhodes, Alfonso Gomez, etc., aren't exactly awe-inspiring in the fight fan's mind when considering punching power. Enter, Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo, a textbook pressure fighter if there ever was one. With a tendency to overwhelm is opponents with volume, punching power, and the same deceptive cleverness in cutting off the ring we see in GGG, Perro remains dangerous no matter the round.
In Angulo's last outing, we saw him take the fight to one of the sport's best technicians, Erislandy Lara, dropping Lara to the canvas twice before an alleged thumbing that stopped the fight, giving Lara the victory. There's a lot to this fight. Both coming off losses, needing to prove their worth in a sport that requires constant proving. Canelo needs to establish his legitimacy as a potential pay-per-view star.
Record: 1-1 [Last pick: Chavez W TKO 9 Vera]
Canelo Alvarez TKO 9 Alfredo Angulo: You always know what you're going to get from Alfredo Angulo. He'll bring his brand of pressure, looking to go toe to toe with Canelo Alvarez.
I feel Canelo will have learned from sharing a ring with Floyd Mayweather Jr. last time out and have to much for Angulo. I see Canelo using his smarts to deal with Angulo, picking him off at will, maybe marking Angulo up before getting a mid-to-late round stoppage.
Record: 4-1 [Last pick: Chavez TKO 10 Vera]
By a one-sided 22-2, the experts favor Canelo Alvarez to defeat junior middleweight rival Alfredo Angulo.