Yesterday, it was reported that former interim junior middleweight titlist, Alfredo Angulo (20-2, 17 KOs), had been released from an immigration detention center in El Centro, California.
Held for over seven months on immigration issues involving an expired work visa, Angulo had been prevented from training and, instead, spent some prime athletic time doing little more than waiting for his situation to be resolved.
In his last bout, this past November, the Mexican battler was stopped in six rounds by James Kirkland in a thrilling war for a minor WBC regional belt in Cancun, Mexico. Prior to that, immigration issues had prevented "El Perro" from active duty on U.S. soil since blowing away former world titlist Joachim Alcine in July of 2010.
Prior to being taken off the market due to incarceration, Angulo had been a fixture at the top of most junior middleweight rankings since breaking through with a dominant TKO 5 win over veteran, Richard Gutierrez back in mid-2008. During a three-year run as a top contender and interim titlist at 154 lbs., Angulo scored some impressive wins over solid fighters such as Gabriel Rosado, Joel Julio, and Andrey Tsurkan while dropping a surprise unanimous decision to an uncharacteristically cautious Kermit Cintron.
Given his resume and his obvious skill level, there would normally be little doubt that the native of Mexicali, Baja California should still be considered among the very best in his weight class. But with his immigration issues limiting him to only two fights in over two prime athletic years, one can never be sure what's left in the tank once a thirty-year-old tries to take on a full schedule of quality fighters again.
Also, Angulo will find himself in a much deeper, more dangerous 154 lb. division than the one he saw when he was last a full-time fighter. With talented 20-something fighters like Saul Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, and Vanes Martirosyan at the top of the division, joined by battlers Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Carlos Molina, and Cornelius Bundrage, Angulo will be facing a tough task ahead if he wants to even break into the top 10 again.
Coming off a brutal loss and a messed-up two-year period of inactivity and outside-the-ring drama, it would be very surprising to see "El Perro" back to where he was when he made his first run at the top. Angulo is tougher than most and better skilled than many, but realistically, he doesn't stand much of a chance at regaining junior middleweight glory.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The BoxingTribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Miguel Rivera, Alfredo Angulo's Return Planned For The End of 2012, Boxingscene
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