Referee Tony Weeks took a lot of flak after rescuing Alfredo “Perro” Angulo from further damage at the hands of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Weeks halted things in the tenth, signifying that Alfredo had taken too much punishment. Some, including Angulo and his trainer were upset. They felt referee Weeks saw Angulo take one punch, a hard uppercut, and made a snap decision to stop the contest. Weeks explained his was not a hasty decision.
He had already consulted with the ringside physician, and listened in on the conversations in Angulo’s corner, in addition to what he was closely watching over nine punishing rounds. Good referees always weigh important questions before stopping a fight. If they come up with negatives for important questions such as: Is the fighter defending himself (fighting back)? Is the fighter taking (high#) hard, clean power punches?
Is the fighter at risk of suffering permanent damage? Does the fighter have a realistic chance at turning things around and winning the fight? In Weeks’ mind, the situation was gloomy and he had no choice. He did what he deemed to be his duty. He mercifully called a halt to the painfully severe beating of “El Perro”.
The question of whether or not Tony should have allowed Angulo to try and finish the fight will linger in the minds of those who feel warriors should be carried out on their shields. At least for that crowd, Angulo didn’t quit. He wasn’t a quitter dejectedly sitting on his stool. No, the courageous Angulo wanted to continue, and was genuinely surprised when referee Weeks jumped in after the particularly hard uppercut landed. In his mind and that of trainer Virgil Hunter, it stunned them both. Quite possibly those two were preoccupied with Angulo’s reputation, and how the stoppage would look. After all, Angulo wasn’t knocked unconscious, or even down for that matter. But, regardless of how some were flabbergasted at Weeks’ action, it’s done and gone. The fact is, it was Tony Weeks’ call, and he is confident he made the right call.
What remains is a question and concern about Angulo’s actions leading up to the stoppage. From the very first clang of the opening bell, Angulo was a stationary target. It’s safe to say he was the recipient of both the first and second punches of the fight. There was no worry on the part of Canelo that he needed a feeling out period, establishing distance, etc. No, he confidently unleashed hard shots from the get go. The first was a hard jab, and the second was a very hard right hand. The action to follow was sickeningly repeated. Canelo had no trepidations, no fear of retaliation. There was no Angulo head movement, no effort to counter, and only a pitty-pat attempt at offense! Between the first and second round, trainer Virgil Hunter was dumbfounded over what he had just seen. (Something Weeks undoubtedly noted ) It certainly wasn’t the fighter he had so painstakingly trained the past weeks. Hunter’s stupefied facial expression said it all…….kind of like “What the hell is going on?”
That question remains unanswered. The important thing is the future well being of Angulo. He took a terrible beating. He refused to go down after being hit with one knockout like blow after another. Instead of going down, Angulo would stumble backwards, and then struggle forward again and play pitty-pat (no not the national card game of Belize) again. His only response was to literally tap out an attempted combination, which did nothing more that expose his face and body to more blows. He was sustaining the kind of frightful beating that leaves brave warriors permanently injured. The tough part in making decisions about the welfare of fighters in situations like this is the real physical harm manifests itself long after the cuts and bruises have healed. The smart ones take that into consideration.
Alfredo “Perro” Angulo is a very brave man. He has proved that over and over in the ring. He is one of those big hearted fighters who is complimented by announcers’ backhanded compliments such as, “He’s willing to take two to give one.” or “He never stops coming.” or “Cuts and a little swelling don’t bother him.” etc. What that too often means is the fighter isn’t known for his defense. Against Canelo, he also had no offense. Why?
The worrisome thing in all this is the number of beatings this man has been taking. He has only had 26 fights, but even with 22 victories he has taken too many punches. Of his four losses, he has now been stopped three times. Rewatch his fight against Lara. His face and head were swollen to gruesome proportions. In that fight, he was tagged with a particularly hard straight left from the southpaw Lara. The damage was immediately apparent, because Angulo turned away in pain. Referee Raul Caiz, Sr. correctly called a halt to the fight. The real shock came when the camera zoomed in on Angulo’s face. It was distorted by rapid swelling all around the left eye. Yes, he dropped Lara twice, but he took plenty of punishment leading up to that final punch. It was one of those fights commentators like to innocently drool over because of the excitement. The next time around, they can introduce one or both of the fighters, and remind them that they can expect all out war.
Unfortunately war has casualties, and Angulo was one in the one-sided affair against Canelo. The worries about Angulo’s well being have been around for quite awhile. Remember his war of attrition against James Kirkland? Initially, he dropped Kirkland with a counter right, but Kirkland prolonged his attack and gradually wore down El Perro, stopping him in the sixth. It’s those prolonged beatings that too often leave permanency, long after the battler has left the squared circle. El Perro’s efforts, or lack thereof, are the key here. His behavior should not be easily dismissed or brushed aside as simply a bad night.
It was much more. He actually looked like he didn’t want to hurt Canelo! That of course is ridiculous to contemplate! One explanation goes beyond such things as over training, dehydrated, or getting old. None of those seem to apply. And, plenty of guys have seemingly taken a lot more shots than Angulo, if for no other reason than having longer careers. Even the smartest doctors can’t explain why someone like George Chuvalo could take many more hard shots then either “Smokin” Joe Frazier or Muhammad Ali and come away with all his faculties, relatively speaking?
Somehow refreshers like that help, if only to remind us we are all different. That is definitely true in the ring. It would seem that sometimes a fighter’s worst enemy is his ability to take a punch. The unwise fighters gifted with such ability sometimes pride themselves and want to demonstrate their gift too often for their own good. Angulo might be one of those. He doesn’t wear that dog collar for nothing. Regardless, even if he isn’t leaving his chin exposed on purpose, it’s safe to say he just doesn’t have the necessary skills to be elusive. Regardless, after viewing last Saturday’s performance at the MGM Grand, it makes one wonder and worry about his well being ?