Angulo was 154, Kirkland 153 /12 at Friday's weigh in.
It happened in Montebello, a small quiet town once known for its oil wells, dairy farms and a Helms Bakery but now known as the first city east of East Los Angeles.
Two years ago when middleweight contender Sergio Mora was in need of quality sparring, a call was sent out and answering were Alfredo “Perro” Angulo and James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland.
You can imagine that when two fighting pit bulls meet they’re going to circle each other cautiously before attacking. That’s what happened when they sparred each other.
“I’ll never forget it,” said Mora who sparred with both fighters and was resting when the two neck crackers smashed each other silly. “It was something to see.”
Few people saw it that day but this Saturday that will change when Angulo (20-1, 17 KOs) and Kirkland (29-1, 26 KOs) meet in Cancun, Mexico. The Golden Boy Promotions clash will be televised along with another middleweight fight between Craig McEwan and Peter Quillin on HBO.
“The main event is one fight that we've all been waiting for very patiently and it finally comes. This Saturday will be fireworks,” said Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya. “We're probably going to be witnessing history in the making. I'm predicting another Gatti-Ward type of trilogy.”
Who can argue?
Angulo recently signed with Golden Boy and was on the brink of crashing into elite status when contractual problems with his previous promoter interrupted the juggernaut. Then problems with INS unfolded and that forced him to return home to Mexico. But fans love his tenacity and willingness to seek destruction over all of his opponents.
“I've always said that I was born to fight, and I think that I'm going to prove it again on Saturday night and you guys are going to see for yourselves that I was born to fight,” says Angulo, who is now training under Nacho Beristain.
In the other corner will be Texan massacre artist Kirkland who, though he lost recently, has a bigger chip on his shoulder coming into this fight.
“I just want to be able to show the world that I deserve the opportunity to be able to be a world champion and this is it right here, to be able to show the world what I'm capable of,” Kirkland says.
Mora is diplomatic about what transpired that afternoon but adds that when he met the Texan for lunch after the sparring session, he could see fumes coming out of the Mandingo Warrior.
“He wanted to go back and do it again,” said Mora, chuckling. “He was still thinking about it.”
Who knows if either will want to do it again after Saturday night?
“I got the best of it, but sparring is one thing and I'm not underestimating anybody and the difference between this fight and the fight is that I trained for this person and I know what he's coming with and I know what type of game plan he likes,” said Kirkland during a conference call. “I know he's a come forward fighter and that's the same type of fighter I am. So we train to the utmost, to the max, because we know exactly what we're getting ourselves into.”
Angulo won’t talk about the past but only the future.
“I don't like prognosticating any fight. I don't like to give the results of any fight. I'm preparing for 12 rounds. When I have a fight that's going to be either 10 or 12 rounds I prepare for those full 10 or 12 rounds,” said Angulo. “I know this for sure that whenever someone's going to fight me, whenever someone's going to fight El Perro they prepare well. They prepare like never before. And I'm sure that James is going to be in the best shape ever.”
Other fight chatter
Riverside heavyweight Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (33-2, 28 KOs) fights Raphael Butler (35-11, 28 KOs) on Saturday Nov. 5, in Guanajuato, Mexico. The fight will not be televised locally. It’s Arreola’s first fight in Mexico.
Oakland’s Ava Knight (7-1-3, 4 KOs) knocked out Mexico’s Arely Mucino (14-1-1, 8 KOs) in 45 seconds of round two to capture the IBF flyweight world title last Saturday in Colima, Mexico. Knight recently fought to a draw against Moreno Valley’s Kaliesha West and knocked out Coachella’s Gloria Salas this past year.
Boxing legend James “Lights Out” Toney (73-6-3, 44 KOs) fought Russia’s Dennis Lebedev (22-1, 17 KOs) in Moscow for the number one spot in the cruiserweight division on Friday. Toney, 43, has been criticized for being over-weight but in this fight he is dropping down to 200 pounds or less. It’s the lowest Toney will have weighed since 2003 when he beat Vassily Jirov for the WBC cruiserweight world title. Toney lost a wide UD to Lebedev.
IBF super middleweight world titleholder Lucian Bute (29-0, 24 KOs) defends against Florida’s Glen Johnson (51-15-2, 35 KOs) on Saturday Nov. 5 in Quebec, Canada. It’s Bute’s ninth world title defense. Johnson is a former light heavyweight world champion.
Chevelle Hallback (28-7-2, 11 KOs) travels to Toulon, France to face Myriam Lamare (19-3, 10 KOs) for the vacant IBF junior welterweight world title on Saturday Nov. 5. Hallback formerly lived in Temecula and is considered one of the top female prizefighters in the last decade.
NABO junior lightweight titleholder Eloy Perez (23-0-2, 7 KOs) stopped Ira Terry (24-7, 14 KOs) at 1:22 of round six on Friday in Salinas’ California. It was Perez’s second consecutive knockout victory.
Featherweight contender Bernabe Concepcion (29-5-1, 15 KOs) eked out a split decision win over San Diego’s Aaron Garcia (10-3-2) in a tense battle on Thursday at San Manuel Casino. Concepcion, who fights out of the Philippines, has fought twice for the featherweight world title. Also winning was Pomona’s heavyweight Alex Flores (6-0, 4 KOs) by first round knockout.
Russia’s Andrey Klimov (12-0, 7 KOs) remained undefeated when he stopped Mexico’s Eduardo Arcos (16-5-1, 13 KOs) at the end of round four of a lightweight bout set for 10 rounds. Arcos was a late replacement for Pipino Cuevas Jr. who had visa problems. The match took place Saturday in Maywood, Calif.
Undefeated Bryan Vazquez (27-0, 14 KOs) fought Santos Benavides (23-2-2, 17 KOs) in a junior lightweight match on Thursday in San Jose, Costa Rica. Vazquez fights out of Costa Rica. He won a wide UD12.
Suriyan Sor Rungvisal (19-4-1, 7 KOs) defends the WBC junior bantamweight world title for the first time. He faces Japan’s Nobuo Nashiro (15-3-1, 9 KOs) on Friday Nov. 4 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Former bantamweight world champion Tomas Rojas (36-13-1, 24 KOs) fights Feliciano Ledesma (82-21-2, 67 KOs) on Saturday Nov.5, in Tijuana, Mexico. It’s Rojas first fight since losing the world title this past summer.
Undefeated super middleweight George Groves (13-0, 10 KOs) clashes with veteran Paul Smith (31-2, 17 KOs) on Saturday in London, England. On the same fight card Scotland’s Ricky Burns (32-2) moves up in weight to fight Australia’s Michael Katsidis (28-4, 23 KOs).
WBA cruiserweight world titleholder Guillermo Jones (37-3-2, 29 KOs) defends against Michael Marrone (20-3, 15 KOs) on Saturday in Florida. Jones of Panama is making is second world title defense. Don King is promoting the fight.
WBC junior lightweight champion Takahiro Ao (21-2-1, 10 KOs) fights Devis Boschiero (29-0-1, 14 KOs) on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan. Ao, 27, a former featherweight world champion, is making his second title defense at junior lightweight.
Mexico’s Hernan Marquez (32-2, 25 KOs) knocked out Luis Concepcion (23-3, 18 KOs) at the end of round one to retain the WBA flyweight world title last week. It was Marquez’s second title defense of the crown he captured from Panama’s Concepcion. He knocked down the former champion three times in the first round.
Junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan (31-0, 19 KOs) beat Colombia’s Richard Gutierrez (26-8-1, 16 KOs by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in Oklahoma. Other winners were Casey Ramos (15-0) and Abraham Han (15-0).
Italy’s Simona Galassi (16-1-1) captured the vacant IBF super flyweight world title by decision over Nadege Szikora (10-3-1) on Saturday. The fight took place in Cagliari, Italy. Galassi is a former flyweight world champion.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV