I’m normally not the guy to tell another adult what to do with their professional life, but every once in a while, you just watch something and cringe. Last weekend, on the undercard of Robert Guerrero’s loss to actual fucking cab driver David Peralta, we were treated to Alfredo Angulo wandering aimlessly after Freddy Hernandez for 10 rounds.
Angulo has been mostly washed up for a few years, and apart from a spirited performance in a loss to Erislandy Lara, he hasn’t looked good since absorbing a frightening beating from James Kirkland in November, 2011. That’s nearly five years. Angulo is three days older than I am, which hardly seems possible.
I mostly just caught highlights of his fight on Saturday, but I was so befuddled by his complete lack of anything resembling coordination that I found the card on my DVR and watched it all the way through. I wish I hadn’t. Watching anyone for whom you’ve cheered be reduced entirely to their ability to withstand a punch is unpleasant.
Part of me understood the indignation that some fans express, wondering why a promoter would put someone so obviously past it on their card, but this is a business first and a sport second. Angulo still has a marketable name. Al Haymon won’t be around to tell the Watson twins to clean the pudding from Angulo’s shirt in 10 years.
Then I got to wondering, who’s more deluded: the fans who actually believed that Perro was “back” or the fighter himself?
Fighters will never be totally self aware. They can’t be. The amount of self belief it takes to get to the top of the sport didn’t lend itself to honest assessments. That’s why trainers exist. That’s also why you wonder when any fighter makes a comeback or sticks with it long after it’s become painfully obvious that they’re shot. The easiest answer is usually that they need money, but there’s always more to it.
No one wants to feel like they’re past it. And if you’re a fighter, you want to feel everything that goes along with it. The crowd, the energy, the attention. Everything. Being great at something is addictive. And getting cheered for being great at something is really fucking addictive.
Letting go of that feeling is difficult, because you’re not just letting go of your profession, or youth, or even the attention those garnered you. You’re letting go of your sense of self. So while I don’t wish to ever see Angulo ply his trade again, I understand why he’s holding on to it for as long as possible.
- Robert Guerrero is tedious. So is his father. So is CrossFit. So is hearing about his wife’s cancer. Now his fights are tedious, which is a shame. He made for some excellent scraps over the years.
- Speaking of deluded, Jermall Charlo has been chirping that his fight with Julian Williams is worth millions. To who? Do either of them have that kind of fan base? Haymon already has to buy airtime, he’d have to buy an audience to watch that fight in the arena too.
- Nonito Donaire vs Jesse Magdaleno is an excellent addition to the Manny Pacquiao vs Jessie Vargas undercard. I’m still not buying that PPV, but it’s a good fight.