Most fighters, notably those who became world champions, will eventually deal with the phase that follows their first professional defeat.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. still has not faced such a dilemma. The sport’s best pound-for-pound fighter continues to preserve his spotless unbeaten record, now at 45 bouts, since his professional debut 17 years ago.
On Saturday night, Mayweather’s recent ring victim will have his initial ring appearance following his first professional loss. Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will begin the transition as previously unbeaten when he faces countryman Alfredo Angulo in Las Vegas.
The super-welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena will be Alvarez’s first since losing a majority decision against Mayweather last September.
“I’m very strong-minded; so, yes, it was a loss, but I learned a lot from it, and I just move on,” Alvarez said in a conference call last week. “I gained experience and move on. I don’t dwell on the past. Now I look forward to the future.”
Although 13 years younger than Mayweather, Alvarez, 23, could not break down his gifted opponent’s superb boxing skills. The result was recorded as a majority decision only because of an outlying scorecard from a Nevada judge who has since been removed from working fights.
“I learned a lot in that fight, so it wasn’t just one thing,” Alvarez said. “But we did gain a lot of experience, and that will be noted in my fights in the future once I step into the ring to bring that out.”
For his first post-Mayweather bout, Alvarez (42-1-1) will face an opponent whose ring approach completely contrasts Mayweather’s. Angulo relies on pressure fighting, a style which has made him a top 154-pound contender. But Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) also has lost two of his past three bouts, including a 10th-round TKO setback against Erislandy Lara last June.
“Obviously, he’s a fighter that comes forward, that hits hard, that can take a punch, and that’s what’s going to make the fight live up, and that’s what the people want to see,” Alvarez said. “They want to see action, and that’s what they will see [Saturday], a lot of action.”
The 12-round bout won’t determine a champion by the sport’s sanctioning bodies. However, Alvarez acknowledges that a victory will provide him additional clout on the pay-per-view and marquee-bout landscape.
“It’s a big responsibility, a great responsibility,” Alvarez said of headlining Saturday’s telecast. “But I thrive on it, and I’m very honored to be headlining.”
Around the ring
Mexico’s Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. left no doubt in the rematch as his pre-fight conditioning paid off with a successful result.
Chavez won a unanimous decision against Bryan Vera late Saturday in San Antonio.
Accurately connecting with his punches, Chavez (48-1-1) denied the pressing Vera (23-8) any fight-changing flurry in the 12-round bout at the Alamodome. Chavez won 117-110 on two judges’ scorecards and 114-113 on the third.
When they first met last September, an out-of-shape Chavez won a controversial decision. Chavez weighed five pounds above the super-middleweight limit. But he weighed under the limit for the rematch.
On Saturday’s undercard, Mexico’s Orlando Salido lost his featherweight belt but defeated the Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko nonetheless.
Salido won a split decision against Lomachenko but was stripped of his World Boxing Organization featherweight belt on Friday for failing to make the 126-pound limit. As a result of Salido’s victory, the title has been declared vacant.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist, Lomachenko was attempting to win a world title in only his second professional fight.