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June 23, 2017

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Alvarez back as Molina, Santa Cruz defend titles

LAS VEGAS -- Saul "Canelo" Alvarez returns to the ring after suffering his first career loss to Floyd Mayweather, fighting Saturday on a card that includes two Mexican compatriots defending world titles.

Former World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association champion Alvarez, 42-1-1 with 30 knockouts, will face countryman Alfredo Angulo, 22-3 with 18 knockouts.

Alvarez, whose nickname means "cinnamon" in Spanish, lost a majority decision and his crowns to unbeaten U.S. star Mayweather last September.

"I learned a lot from fighting Floyd, but I'm ready to get back in the ring to maintain the path that I was on before," Alvarez said.

"What happened in September is in the past. I'm fully concentrating on this fight."

The Las Vegas card also features Leo Santa Cruz, 26-0 with one draw and 15 knockouts, defending the WBC super bantamweight crown against Mexican southpaw Cristian Mijares, 49-7 with two drawn and 24 knockouts.

Santa Cruz will make the second defense of the crown he won last August with a third-round knockout of compatriot Victor Terrazas. He defended the title last December, taking a unanimous decision over Puerto Rican southpaw Cesar Seda.

"I have a lot of respect for Mijares, who was a great champion and is still very fast," Santa Cruz said. "His style can be complicated which is why I've been working in the gym with southpaws. I am going to stop him."

Molina, 22-5 with two drawn and six knockouts, will defend the International Boxing Federation light middleweight title against unbeaten American Jermall Charlo, 17-0 with 13 knockouts.

"This guy is undefeated, but he's never faced anyone like me," Molina said. "I'm more eager and hungry than I've ever been for a fight in my life. I'm still the champion and I'll still be the champion on Saturday."

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