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Rene Alvarado Wins by TKO to Dethrone, Upset Andrew Cancio


By Robert Aaron Contreras

If fighting is natural, boxing is genetic.

On Saturday, Rene Alvarado joined twin brother Felix, who holds the IBF light flyweight belt, as the first Nicaraguan siblings to simultaneously hold world championships. It was a seven-to-one oddsbreaking, knockout performance for Alvarado (32-8, 21 KO) who dethroned defending champion Andrew Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KO).

The fight ended after the seventh round, when Cancio’s trainer told referee Raul Caiz Sr. that his charge had received enough punishment in the main event of DAZN’s broadcast from Indio, California

“It’s a feeling that’s very hard to describe,” Alvarado said, through a translator, getting used to a new gold strap over his shoulder. “It’s something I wanted ever since I started my career. Now Nicaragua has a new champion. Twin brothers. All glory goes to Nicaragua.”
The championship fight was a rematch of nondescript meeting between Alvarado and Cancio in 2015, before the limelight ever had a spot for them, which the American took on an eighth-round TKO.

Out of the gate, seemingly out for revenge, in a frenetic pace, Alvarado immediately bashed up Cancio. From every which way, the challenger stole the opening round with an array of looping punches.

Cancio had Alvarado where he wanted him in Round 2, in close quarters. So Alvarado used his long arms to beat the champion to the punch, sitting on winging right hands. Their weight pressed against each other, Cancio went downstairs twice only for four punches to be returned in his direction.

Cancio’s focus shifted to slicing apart his man’s guard by going up the middle. But the spindly puncher proved he could catch.

Alvarado assumed his fencing stance for the third period. His eyes never left his target when Cancio tried barreling into him. The challenger mashed right hooks into Cancio’s face. Cancio was being whipped around. His head fell over his center of gravity and into Alvarado which the Nicaraguan responded by using his forearms to muscle Cancio’s dome in line for more careening blows.

Admirably, Cancio’s right and left straights went on tilting… at windmills because Alvarado was cruising from the outside. His elongated jab set up flashing right uppercuts, followed up by a left hook. An overhand right bounced off Cancio before more slinging punches from Alvarado—just as a sidearm pitcher would—brought in the doctor ahead of the fifth stanza.

Alvarado drilled into Cancio some more in the fifth. Though it would not the same heavy artillery in the sixth and seventh rounds. Cancio’s face glowing crimson, he experienced his best round if only because Alvarado took most of the three minutes off.

The damage had already been done.

Cancio’s corner could be heard on the broadcast giving his pupil “one more round.”

Too bad Cancio’s strategy in the fateful inning was no different. Short straight lefts initiated his combo, followed by a downward right crosses. Not creative enough to deter Alvarado. At this point stretching out left hands, then snapping together right and left butchering, chopping strikes.

That Round 7 wasn’t particularly punishing but did nothing to reassure Cancio’s trainer that it would be safe to let the action continue.

The punch stats painted a clear picture as Alvarado landed 232 of 703 (33 percent). And Cancio connected on 154 of 559 total blows (28 percent).

It turned out, getting one back on Cancio was never Alvarado’s main goal. Instead, history.

“My objective was to make sure I became champion on this important day,” Alvarado said. “When Alexis Arguello became champion for the first time.”

Arguello earned his first title 45 years ago to the day over Mexican legend Ruben Olivares, also in California. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez turned up for the occasion, spurring his countryman on from the front row.

Alvarado came into the fight unbeaten dating back to the spring of 2017. Before that, he was on a 6-6 run that included a massive defeat to Cancio. Now he has won eight straight and due for a homecoming.

Can Xu defends featherweight crown
Featherweight world titlist Can Xu retained his belt for the second time this year as he decisioned Manny Robles III in chief support of DAZN’s broadcast competing with a heavyweight pay-per-view.

Xu (18-2, 3 KO) who earned his 126-pound world title in January—defending it four months later—never took his foot off the petal, doubling the punch output of Robles (18-1, 8 KO). The judges had it 118-110, 120-108, and 119-109, all for the Chinese champion.

“We trained very hard. We wanted to show everybody war!” Xu explained in markedly improved English before calling for a unification with Josh Warrington—”Josh, you called me out. You see me here, I’m here. I’m featherweight champion of the world—and giving the California crowd an enthusiastic “gracias.”

In Round 1, the bodies quickly hit the deck. It was referee Edward Hernandez, not the fighters, who visited the canvas.

Robles retreated to his right from incoming offense from Xu at the same time Hernandez was shuffling in the same direction and the two collided with the ref losing his balance.

The theme of the night became evident in the second round. Both men traded from medium-range, keen on establishing combos revolving around sharp uppercuts.

The third round saw Xu’s uppercuts make contact with his challenger’s midsection.

Robles returned stiff orthodox jabs upstairs. While Xu worked off his cultured lead left hand, hooking and slashing in rhythm.

The two-handed attack from the champion took sole control of the center of the ring by Round 4 and Xu’s output only ramped up in the fifth and beyond.

The waves of punches drove Robles backwards. The American was jammed into the corner in Round 7. His offense was reduced by the eighth to sitting on the balls of his feet, waiting for Xu’s fists to complete their cycle, and toss back singular, flinging left hooks.

Robles could no longer keep his hands up in the tenth period. There his nose opened up, bleeding. Xu took advantage, stuffing right and left straights followed by angling left hooks.

Completely balanced, the champion’s feet inched to and fro, right and left, out and away, nothing otherworldly, but consistently shifting position. Once taking a step back and planting his right foot and driving that kinetic energy through his legs up to a straight right into Robles’ face.

The interchanging punches did not stop in the championship rounds. Robles managed to press forward, though his punches has little pop. Xu put him in a corner near the end of the 12th, where Robles mustered up the little he had left for a two-way blitz before the final bell.

Of total landed shots, Xu landed 402 of a whopping 1,562 punches (25 percent) while Robles connected with 199-of-765 (26 percent).

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Andrew Cancio Defends Title in Rematch with Rene Alvarado


By: Robert Aaron Contreras

No rematch is created equally. A return match can be called if the first go seemed like a fluke. Other times, the initial match proved to be such a scintillating matchup that public demand forces the two parties to do it all over again.

In June, WBA titleholder Andrew Cancio had already slung the gold belt over his shoulder. But speculation over former champion Alberto Machado’s conditioning left Cancio no choice but to affirm his claim of the WBA super featherweight title in a rematch. And he did by scrambling Machado’s insides with a left hook to the body, inducing a third-round knockout.

Now set to defend his strap for the second time, Cancio’s biggest challenge this weekend might not be the man in front of him—who he already holds a win over—but instead the fight card going on in Las Vegas, with Deontay Wilder at the top of the bill. The heavyweight star participates in a rematch of his own with Luis Ortiz after their classic slugfest last year.

So eyes may be limited for Cancio (21-4-2, 16 KO) as he tackles a former opponent in Rene Alvarado (31-8, 20 KO). DAZN will carry the action on Nov. 23, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The two previously met in 2015 when Cancio picked up a knockout victory in the eight round. The stoppage was well needed for the California native who had just dropped a bout to Ronny Rios. The future champ would lose once more (to JoJo Diaz) before putting together his masterpiece, stringing together four consecutive wins, culminating in two blowout victories over the sharpshooting beltholder Machado.

Four years on, the loss almost seems like an anomaly for Alvarado. It was part of a mediocre run across the lower tier of the division, competing between the U.S. and his homeland of Argentina. Recognizable names like Rocky Juarez, Jayson Velez and Yuriorkis Gamboa were too much for Alvarado. He lost to all of them and was 8-6 over his previous 14 bouts before mounting a seven-fight win streak, that dates back to the summer of 2017, on his way to a mandatory title defense this weekend.

The Argentinian veteran’s real watershed moment came on the undercard of the Orlando Salido vs. Mickey Roman melee. Alvarado had the warring ways perfectly suitable to support the violent main event and rushed out to an early lead against perennial contender Denis Shafikov, eventually earning a split-decision nod.

From there Alvarado’s pursuit for gold was on. He separated himself from the pack, including a decision over journeyman Carlos Morales, who just before that extended blue-chip prospect Ryan Garcia.
Much like his rival, Alvarado is experiencing a late surge. Already 30, the visiting challenger is still younger than Cancio, aged 31.

Cancio’s age and experience, though, is his advantage, only giving him longer time to adapt and evolve. He is some kind of boxing amoeba. Resurrected from his middling days as a featherweight, he is now elite; a banger by nature, he’s demonstrated that he can fight backwards—against the likes of Dardan Zenunaj—or simply seek and destroy as he did with frightening efficiency against Machado, twice.

As for the rest of the card, it is a relatively thin—totaling just nine bouts. The show includes featherweight beltholder Can Xu, who in the beginning of the year became the third world champion ever from China. He defends his belt for the second time against undefeated tyro Manny Robles III.

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Felix Alvarado Knocks Out Randy Petalcorin In Seven, Wins Vacant Jr. Flyweight Title


By Jake Donovan

The third time proved to be a charm for Felix Alvarado.

A relentless workrate coupled with a sustained body attack paved the way for the 29-year old from Nicaragua to capture a vacant junior flyweight title, halting Randy Petalcorin in seven rounds Monday in Pasay City, Philippines.

Petalcorin did his best to keep pace but was ultimately sent home courtesy of three knockdowns in round seven. The last of the three forced the Filipino to the canvas for the full ten count, producing a knockout at 2:04 of round seven.

It was never that easy for Alvarado, whose previous title bids resulted in back-to-back road losses to Kazuto Ioka in Japan and Juan Carlos Reveco in Argentina. The latter defeat came in June ’14, with Alvarado having rattled off 15 consecutive wins—all but one coming inside the distance—coming into Monday’s clash with Petalcorin, a former interim titlist making his first attempt at a real belt.

Their main event battle—which aired live on ESPN+ in the United States and TV5 in the Philippines—was fought at a furious pace and supremely high skill level. Alvarado forced the action early and essentially throughout, while Petalcorin favored efficiency over volume, the southpaw riding out the early exchanges and countering with straight lefts highlighting his combination punching.

Realizing that Alvarado wasn’t going to let up, Petalcorin took the initiative in the middle rounds in his best efforts to keep his opponent at bay. The biggest difference in their methods of attack was body punching. Whereas Petalcorin sought to take the lead when the opportunity arose, Alvarado never stopped going downstairs.

It was an investment that reaped dividends, even if it meant giving away rounds to reach his end goal. During nearly every exchange, Alvarado would at some point catch his foe with a left hook or right hand to the body, often setting up the shots with straight right hands upstairs.

Meanwhile, Petalcorin’s strategy only proved aesthetically pleasing but not particularly effective. The 26-year old title hopeful often found a home for his left hand, but never put enough behind it to make Alvarado break stride. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but rather his absorbing a tremendous amount of body punches taking the sting off of his attack.

Alvarado picked up on this as the fight entered the second half, intensifying his own offensive attack. A right hand upstairs followed by one to the body forced Petalcorin to a knee just inside the first 40 seconds of round seven, at which point in the round he’d already landed six purposeful body punches.

Petalcorin managed to beat the count but was visibly struggling to catch his breath as referee Ernie Sharif—after giving the boxer a hard look—elected to allow the action to continue. Alvarado went right back on the attack, at times a bit wild but settling down just long enough to prompt his foe to once again take a knee just past the one minute mark.

The sequence looked to have finally beaten the fight out of Petalcorin, who was up at eight but bearing a lost look on his face as Sharif asked if wanted to continue. Action resumed, with Alvarado finishing off the local favorite with a flurry of power punches. A left hook to the body knocked the wind out of Petalcorin, with a right hand upstairs serving as window dressing as he once again fell to a knee.

This time, Sharif reached the full ten count in waving off the contest at 2:04 of round seven.

Alvarado (34-2, 30KOs) has now racked up 10 straight knockouts—all within the past two years—amidst a current 16-fight win streak. With the win, he picks up a title left behind by Hekkie Budler, whom he was supposed to challenge earlier in the year after the South African boxer inherited two mandatory challengers following his two-belt win over Ryoichi Taguchi this past May.

The title, however, became available when Budler vacated in lieu of being stripped due to their mandatory title fight failing to secure the minimum purse bid requirement during a hearing in July. Bulder was never keen on defending by the October deadline as it was, opting to relinquish the strap in lieu of being stripped.

Nevertheless, the ugly side of boxing’s politics provided an opportunity for Petalcorin (29-3-1, 22KOs) to challenge for first major title. He’d briefly reigned as an interim titlist, but his first bid at the real thing results in a six-fight win streak coming to a close—and persistence paying off for Alvarado, who joins top-rated flyweight Cristofer Rosales as Nicaragua’s lone current major titlists.

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HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Lemieux vs. Stevens, Gamboa vs. Alvarado


HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Lemieux vs. Stevens, Gamboa vs. Alvarado
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens will meet in the main event of an HBO Boxing After Dark card in the active and exciting middleweight division. This bout will take place at the Turning Stone Resort Casino live in Verona, New York.

Yuriorkis Gamboa, and recent Golden Boy Promotions signee, will be fighting in the co-main event of the night and will be facing Rene Alvarado in the junior lightweight division.

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Several other high level prospects will be fighting on the untelevised undercard, including boxers such as Zachary Ochoa, Diego De La Hoya, and Damon Allen Jr.

The following is a preview of both of the televised bouts.

Yuriorkis Gamboa (25-1) vs. Rene Alvarado (24-7); Junior Lightweight

Gamboa has been very inactive since he left Top Rank Promotions to sign with the short lived boxing promotional company ran by 50 Cent. He only fought once in 2015 and did not fight at all in 2016. He’s since signed with Golden Boy Promotions and looks to get his career back on track, and Golden Boy has picked the perfect opponent for him to shake off the ring rust.

Alvarado is seven years younger than Gamboa and will have an inch and a half height advantage as well as a seven inch reach advantage. He also fought twice in 2016 and five times in 2015 and has been considerably more active than Gamboa. However, his advantages stop there.

Gamboa has seventeen knockout victories while Alvarado has sixteen. Gamboa went 4-1 in his past five fights with only one stoppage victory while Alvarado went 2-3 in his past five fights.

Gamboa clearly has the better professional and amateur resume. He’s a former Olympic Gold Medalist and has defeated the likes of Hylon Williams Jr., Darleys Perez, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Jorge Solis, Orlando Salido, Jonathan Victor Barros, and Jose Rojas.

The only big win of Alvarado’s career was against Jayson Velez. He has losses to the likes of Manuel Avila, Andrew Cancio, Joseph Diaz, Eric Hunter, Rocky Juarez, Jezreel Corrales, and Orlando Rizo.

The inactivity would be a bigger concern for Gamboa if he was facing a tougher opponent, but Alvarado lost to nearly every big name opponent he has ever faced and Saturday will be no different.

David Lemieux (36-3) vs. Curtis Stevens (29-5); Middleweight

Lemieux and Stevens are both hard hitting middleweights with knockout power who put on exciting fights for their fans. They both also suffered stoppage defeats to the current middleweight kingpin, Gennady Golovkin.

This is a must win fight for both boxers if they want to fight for a world title in the near future. Lemieux will have about a two and a half inch height advantage but will be giving up an inch and a half in reach to Stevens. Lemieux is three years younger than Stevens and has been more active. Lemieux fought twice in 2015 and twice in 2016 while Stevens fought twice in 2016 and zero times in 2015.

They both has successful amateur careers as Lemieux was a three time Canadian Amateur Champion while Stevens was the 2002 US Amateur Light Heavyweight Champion.

Lemieux and Stevens are both known for their power, but Lemieux has to be given the edge in this department. He has stopped thirty two of his opponents while Stevens has stopped twenty one. They both can be stopped as Stevens was stopped twice in his career while Lemieux has two stoppage losses.

Lemieux has beaten the likes of Glen Tapia, Hasan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gabriel Rosado, Hernando Guerrero, Jose Miguel Torres, Elvin Ayala, and Hector Camacho Jr. His losses were to Gennady Golovkin, Jachim Alcine, and Marco Antonio Rubio.

Stevens has defeated the likes of James De La Rosa, Patrick Teixeira, Tureano Johnson, Patrick Majewski, Saul Roman, Elvin Ayala, and Darnell Boone. His losses were to losses to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gennady Golovkin, Jesse Brinkley, Andre Dirrell, Marcos Primera (later avenged).

This could be a very entertaining fight, but Lemieux has the stronger amateur background, appears to be the stronger puncher, and has been considerably more active than Stevens recently. Stevens could win by stoppage, but momentum is on Lemieux’s side.

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