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Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez embraced warrior side in Alfredo Angulo win

LAS VEGAS -- There were moments during Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s Saturday night victory over Alfredo Angulo that the former world light-middleweight champion refused to remove himself from a pocket of punishment.

One fight after his lopsided loss by decision at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Alvarez’s intent was clearly to underline that he is the type of fighter the masses want him to be.

“Everyone was talking about Fredo’s power. I stayed in there, boxed, took his punches — took them well — and decided I’m going toe to toe, just like we said the fight would be,” Alvarez said at the post-fight news conference late Saturday night at MGM Grand. “I was able to feel his punch. I didn’t feel it was a devastating punch.”

In addition to that crowd-pleasing display of grit, the 23-year-old Alvarez (43-1-1) unloaded heavy punches, swinging hard rights, combinations and right uppercuts to finish with a dominating 295-104 advantage in punches connected.

“Obviously, we did our homework. The punches we threw, we knew we’d connect,” Alvarez said after landing an impressive 64% of 309 power punches thrown.

In the 10th round, he finished the night with a hard left uppercut that struck Angulo in the bottom of the jaw, rocking his head back and leading referee Tony Weeks to stop the fight at the 47-second mark.

Weeks had consulted multiple times with a ringside physician, said the head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Francisco Aguilar, about the protocol of a stoppage.

The big punch was clearly it.

That decision led to heated booing from a crowd that wanted the entertaining slugfest to carry on and Angulo objected afterward.

So did Angulo trainer Virgil Hunter, who said he had told Weeks he was willing to stop the fight himself if Alvarez hit Angulo with a telling combination.

Angulo was hospitalized for precautionary reasons.

“That was an outstanding performance,” by Alvarez, Hunter said. “He has a lot of talent, ability, a great future ahead of him.

“It was a tough, tough fight to witness. I feel for [Angulo]. It’s difficult to see a fighter go through anything like what we saw tonight.”

Alvarez promoter Richard Schaefer said after the bout that he has a date in July cleared for Alvarez’s next fight, but is unsure who will emerge as his opponent, and from what division.

Cuba’s Erislandy Lara, who beat Angulo last summer in Carson, walked on stage and told Alvarez a fight with him is one everyone wants to see. Lara fights former light-middleweight world champion Ishe Smith May 2.

Alvarez looked toward Lara (19-1-2) with a “Who let this guy in here?” expression.

“Who wants to see it?” Alvarez asked.

When one person raised his hand, Alvarez asked, “Isn’t that your manager? This is not how you make fights. So you have to wait.”

Schaefer said he and Alvarez will watch the June 7 Miguel Cotto-Sergio Martinez middleweight title fight, with the winner possibly emerging as an Alvarez opponent late in 2014.

“I’m ready to fight in July, to give the fans the best fight possible,” Alvarez said.

He also announced he objected to the idea of presenting the Angulo bout as Alvarez's return fight, saying he was never gone after the Mayweather disappointment.

"I tried to do many things in September," Alvarez said. "They say as long as you learn, you didn't lose. I learned a lot from that fight. Things didn't go as planned. That's in the past. I'm looking to the future, and I was real happy with this result."

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