Angulo-Julio winner will emerge a contender

Kevin Iole

You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI

Jim Lampley, in what seemed to be a fit of temporary insanity during the seventh round of the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey fight on March 13 in Arlington, Texas, began to randomly shout "Bang!" as Pacquiao pressed the action.

"Bang Bang" isn't working the HBO-televised show on Saturday at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif., but if ever there was a bout made for Lampley to call, it is the broadcast opener between super welterweights Alfredo Angulo and Joel Julio.

There is no lateral movement with these guys. Feints are nonexistent. There won't be a lot of subtlety on display.

It's going to be boxing's version of the Oklahoma drill, two guys lining up head to head with the more powerful man winning.

As Lampley would say, "Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!"

Angulo isn't expecting any different from Julio than he is expecting from himself.

"I'm going to go out to try to take his head off and I think he's going to try to do the same thing to me," said Angulo, who is trying to atone for an inexplicably poor performance in a super welterweight title eliminator last year against Kermit Cintron.

Angulo clearly wasn't ready to fight – he grunted and snarled and refused to answer questions about the Cintron bout – but the fight took a lot of luster off his career.

He's responded with early stoppages of Gabriel Rosado and Harry Joe Yorgey, but it's hard to read anything into those bouts since they were so overmatched.

But against Julio, he'll meet another hard-hitting, offensively oriented young fighter who is desperately in need of a win. Angulo, 27, is 17-1 with 14 knockouts. Julio, 25, is 35-3. Each man, however, lost his most significant fights and needs to win to remain near the top of the heap at 154 pounds.

"He took on Cintron at HBO's urging, probably too early for when he should have taken on a guy of that caliber and experience," promoter Gary Shaw said of Angulo.

Neither Angulo nor Julio has won a truly significant bout yet. Angulo's 17 victories are largely over the normal collection of misfits that are fed to promising prospects. His most significant win was over Andrey Tsurkan.

Julio got routed in his first step up, when he was clearly outboxed by Carlos Quintana in an outdoor fight in Las Vegas in 2006. He reeled off seven consecutive wins after that loss but then was beaten in back-to-back fights by Sergiy Dzinziruk and James Kirkland. Julio blames his losses on a lack of conditioning. As a result, he's put together a new team, headed by conditioning coach Jeremy Fedoruk.

"This is a very important fight for me and a big opportunity to defeat a great, highly regarded fighter and reestablish myself as a legitimate contender," Julio said. "On Saturday, the fans will see the real Joel Julio. It's time for me to show the world that I am a talented, elite fighter and it's my chance to win back my fans. I have a new team, a new trainer and a new, fresh outlook.

"I have a conditioning coach for the first time, so I know I will be in the best shape of my life. Having a conditioning coach makes me not only physically better, but mentally better, too. Now, I know I can just go out and fight. I blame all my losses on not being in top shape." Conditioning will be important because of the high number of punches expected to be thrown and the number of blows each man will probably absorb.

Julio is probably the harder one-shot puncher, but Angulo has the kind of heavy hands that you feel weeks later.

"You know it when you've fought 'Perro' Angulo," Shaw said. "You're hurt after you've fought him."

The outcome will likely be determined by which guy can better absorb the other's shots, because history tells you this will be a high-contact fight.

Angulo, though, isn't looking to avoid anything Julio throws, even though he acknowledges he has great respect for Julio's power.

He wants to prove his machismo and vows to impose his will on Julio. Kirkland did just that to Julio and made him melt and Angulo will likely have to do it if he wants to regain a spot among the top super welterweights.

"I know what kind of a fighter he is and I know he can punch," Angulo said. "I don't care. He has to worry about me. He's going to be able to take my punch. He said he's going to come out and fight me. I can promise you this: He's not going to have to go far to find me. I'll be right there the whole time, in front of his face, throwing my punches." And if Lampley were there, one could just hear him: "Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!"

It's going to be that kind of a fight.