Junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo had a rough night Saturday in his 10th-round TKO loss to Erislandy Lara for a vacant interim title at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Although Angulo dropped Lara twice in the action-packed fight -- what other kind is Angulo involved in? -- he was trailing by a point on two scorecards, although up by three on the third, when the fight ended.
When Lara came on strong in the 10th round, nailing Angulo with a right and a left to the face, Angulo turned and walked away from the fight in a clear sign of resignation, giving referee Raul Caiz Jr. no choice but to stop the fight.
Angulo, the last fighter in the world you'd expect to see quit, did have huge swelling around his left eye. It is not possible for anyone other than Angulo to know what he was feeling when he abruptly retired, but it doesn't change the fact that the end was surprising.
The 30-year-old Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) complained that Lara (18-1-2, 12 KOs), the skillful Cuban defector now living in Houston, had "thumbed" him in the eye. In reality, that is not possible. The gloves that are worn have attached thumbs. What Lara did is punch him in the eye, a perfectly legal shot.
The ringside doctor thought Angulo might have suffered a broken orbital bone. As it turns out, thankfully, Angulo did not have any fractures.
On Wednesday, Angulo, who is from Mexico and was the clear favorite of the fans, who chanted "Perro! Perro! Perro!" during the fight, released a statement in which he thanked his fans, gave an update on his condition and congratulated Lara.
"I want to thank all of my fans for their support in the wake of my eye injury this past weekend," Angulo said. "I have undergone various medical examinations, which I am glad to report revealed no broken bones. California State Athletic Commission physician Dr. Pearlman Hicks has informed me that I only suffered a contusion and my eye specialist thankfully sees no permanent injury to my eye.
"I want to thank all of you for the love and support you have given me the past few days. I would also like to congratulate Erislandy Lara on a great fight. I'm sad that I disappointed all my fans by not giving them an 'El Perro' victory as I truly believe I was on the verge of knocking Lara down for the third time and winning the fight. The sharp pain of his thumb in my eye caused me to turn my back out of reflex and I could not see out of my left eye. I accept the decision made by the referee to stop the fight and look forward to getting back in the ring in the future. I will be back to give you a better show in my next fight."