Former champion Canelo Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KO's) will return to the ring for the first time since his lopsided loss to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather when he faces rugged brawler Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo (22-3, 18 KO's) March 8 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand.
"This is a great fight for me and for the fans and I can't wait to get back in the ring on March 8," said Canelo. "Angulo is a true warrior and I have to be alert every second of every round when I fight him. I expect that we will put on a fight no one will ever forget."
The card will be a pay-per-view event and features some other interesting bouts, starting with a matchup between all-action champion Leo Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 KO's) defending his WBC Super Bantamweight World Title against former champ Cristian Mijares (49-7-2, 24 KO's).
It's a classic youth versus experience battle.
"I've always been a fan of Cristian Mijares, and I know he will give me a tough fight on March 8," said Santa Cruz. "When two Mexicans get into the ring together, it's always a show, and this fight will be no different."
The 25-year-old Santa Cruz (26-0-1, 15 KO's) is known for his relentless volume punching and will be making the second defense of his WBC 122-pound title. Mijares, 32, is a southpaw boasting a 48-7-2 record with 22 KO's.
In addition, Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6 KO's) will defend his IBF Junior Middleweight Championship against undefeated Jermall Charlo (17-0, 13 KO's), the twin brother of fellow unbeaten contender Jermell Charlo.
Another intriguing fight will be a clash between athletic and gifted former two-time World Champion Jorge Linares (35-3, 23 KO's) and Nihito Arakawa (24-3-1, 16 KO's) in a 10-round lightweight bout.
"I've worked hard to get back to the top of the division, and I can't let Arakawa slow me down," said Linares. "He's a tough, rugged fighter who will be in front of me all night, but I am confident that I will be victorious."
March 8 is a hallowed date in boxing history because on that date in 1971, "Smokin" Joe Frazier first fought Muhammad Ali in the first bout of their epic trilogy.
In this case, the Alvarez-Angulo event will not be the Fight of the Century, but it could be a Fight of the Year candidate.
Although Canelo may have the faster hands and superior boxing skills, he will be facing a formidable opponent in the hard-punching Angulo.
"Canelo is a great young fighter who has earned his way to the top," said Angulo. "That being said, I know I'm hungrier than he is right now and I will take him to places he's never been. Our fans in Mexico and around the world will see what we're all about when we fight."
Angulo will be battling his own demons as well. An aggressive pressure fighter, Angulo recently suffered a significant eye injury against Erislandy Lara that forced a stoppage of that bout. As such, it remains to be seen whether Angulo will retain his usual confident aggression, or if he will instead be more cautious.
"When we presented opponents to Canelo for his return fight, he immediately took the man who he expected would give him the toughest challenge in the ring and who also would help him give the fans the most exciting fight possible," said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "Alfredo Angulo fits the bill on all counts and this will not only be a stern test for Canelo, but I know fight fans are going to see all action from start to finish."
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services