Alfredo Angulo is coming off of the worst loss of his pro career, as he was trounced in March by Canelo Alvarez, a fight that was so one-sided that referee Tony Weeks felt no other choice but to step in and stop the beatdown in round 10, as Angulo was taking an unreal amount of punishment over the fight.
While Angulo (22-4, 18 KO) did protest the stoppage and wanted to continue on, observers noted that he looked lethargic and abnormally powerless in the fight. And it would seem quite a coincidence if that has nothing to do with the fact that Angulo, 32, is moving up to the middleweight division on Saturday night, when he faces James de la Rosa (22-2 ,13 KO) on the Mayweather-Maidana undercard.
"I am ready to be back in the ring and I am happy to see all these people and to be back in Las Vegas," Angulo said at Tuesday's MGM Grand Arrivals. "It's a very important and dangerous fight for me. De La Rosa is a good fighter but I will fight anybody they put in front of me."
Though most fight fans may want to rush ahead and speculate what comes next for Angulo, since he's so heavily favored to win on Saturday night, he says he's focused entirely on de la Rosa.
"I'm going to stay focused on this fight. It's one fight at a time. I'm focused on Saturday and then we'll see what comes after."
For the 26-year-old de la Rosa, this is an opportunity to make his name at the expense of a popular and well-known fighter -- whether he's at his best anymore or not.
"I feel really good and ready to put on a show Saturday night. It's really important for me to boost back up my career and get back to where I want to be," de la Rosa said, adding, "There's no pressure on me at all. I'm just going to go up there and give him his third straight loss."
A Mexican now living in San Benito, Texas, de la Rosa says he sees things that can be exposed with Angulo, namely his lumbering style and leaky defense.
"Training camp is going very well. This fight could not have come at any better time. There are a lot of things that I can do to pull off the upset. His style is slow so I just need to have the higher output. He's there to get hit."