Photo Credits: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
LAS VEGAS, NV — After much drama the past 24 hours with Carlos Molina being jailed and Canelo disclosing weight issues, the weigh-in for tonight’s “Toe to Toe” was completed all the fighters making their contractual. With a solid undercard and a main event which is likely to end in a (career-derailing) KO, let’s get right to the storylines and intangibles to expect this evening.
CANELO ALVAREZ: 155 lbs.
ALFREDO ANGULO: 154.5 lbs.
PREDICTION: Canelo added some last-minute nonsense to the weigh-in by negotiating to get the 154-pound limit pushed up to 155. He was expected to miss the weight, but made it and avoided a $100,000 per pound fine. The other new contractual requirement is pending — Canelo cannot weigh more than 168 pounds by 3 p.m.
With that said, it was Angulo who looked more drained than Canelo did. While most are expecting El Perro to be stronger, this weight issue hints at Canelo possibly being the more powerful and much bigger fighter.
When it comes to the actual fight, it’s a tale of two different areas of the ring. If Canelo keeps the fight in ring-center, Angulo is almost a sitting duck for jibs and heavy right hands. El Perro, for all his grit and toughness, does not move his head much (Lara smacked him with a flush straight left just seconds into their fight). But when the fight goes to the ropes, this is where Angulo will do his best work with stabbing left hooks to the body. Canelo at times fancies himself a shoulder roll expert (as seen in the Trout fight), but Angulo will hurt him there if he attempts to rest or get cute.
And therein lies the crux of this matter. I see this fight spending more time off the ropes than on it, meaning Angulo is going to eat more leather than he dishes out. In addition to the questions about his eye following the Lara injury, the safe and most likely ending is Canelo by a stoppage around the 8th round. I don’t expect Angulo to bring the same reckless pressure he brought to Lara, since Canelo is a bigger puncher. That additional caution, coupled with his leaky defense and Canelo faster hands (plus combination punching), leads me to believe Angulo will be suffering another KO defeat.
CRISITIN MIAJRES: 122 LBS.
LEO SANTA CRUZ: 122 LBS.
PREDICTION: Once upon a time, this would have been an easy fight for Mijares. In his younger days, he was a Pound 4 Pound fighter with some of the best boxing skills you could find at the lower weights. After a surprising beatdown from Vic Darchinyan, his career went into a downward spiral before he stabilized himself starting in 2009.
At this stage, it’s hard to envision Mijares handling a young monster like Santa Cruz, who’s naturally bigger and will pressure him the entire fight. A key to this fight will be Mijares legs. If they can hold up the entire fight, it will be very interesting. More than likely, we’ll see Mijares making Santa Cruz look average, and at times downright foolish, through the first five rounds before being overwhelmed late by youth and aggression. SANTA CRUZ TKO11
JORGE LINARES: 134.5 LBS
NIHITO ARAKAWA: 135 LBS
PREDICTION: Linares will always be a fighter I remember vividly. When I first started covering fights in 2009, one of the first press conferences I attended was at the MGM Grand, where Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer announced the signing of Linares. They proclaimed him “the future” of Golden Boy.
Five years and three bad knockout losses later, that might as well have been a lifetime ago. In 2014, Linares is still a good fighter. His speed and punch variety are solid, as well as his punching power. His glaring weakness has always been his durability. Can Arakawa expose that?
For tonight at least, Linares should be ok. The guys that took him out were big punchers. As long as Linares doesn’t get caught with a miracle shot and just boxes, he should cruise to a wide decision. LINARES UD12
RICARDO ALVAREZ: 135 LBS
SERGIO THOMPSON: 135 LBS
PREDICTION: Nice of Canelo to get his older brother on the card. Unfortunately, he’s probably earned him a beating. Sergio Thompson is a tough man who can punch. Just ask Jorge Linares — Thompson needed just two rounds to carve up and stop him back in 2012. He never got to truly capitalize on that win, but he’s been in with top-level opponents (most recently losing a 12 round decision to Takashi Miura last year). Alvarez makes the final bell, but gets a pasting in those later rounds. THOMPSON UD12