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).
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.
Cancio reclaims world title over Machado by KO; Comeback finish from Soto shocks Acosta
By Robert Aaron Contreras
On Friday, Golden Boy Promotions offered up a championship doubleheader on DAZN. From the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in California, where title hopes were fulfilled and title hopes, crushed.
Out of the ruckus came two unheralded bangers, now with gold around their waist, and the billing of boxing’s latest stage performers in its great “theatre of the unexpected.”
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
Andrew Cancio (21-4-2, 16 KO) def. Alberto Machado (21-2, 17 KO) by third-round knockout
It was seek and destroy for Cancio, leaving no doubt to the legitimacy of his championship claim after again poleaxing Machado in a rematch. This time it took him just three rounds to split the Puerto Rican in half with a left hook to the body.
Cancio, 30, had to do battle with mega-hitter Machado for a second time after a shocking upset four months ago. But Cancio, relentlessly, never taking a step backwards, got the job done, winning by third-round knockout.
“I told you guys I would know him out again,” Cancio said in the ring on the DAZN broadcast. “I told you guys it wasn’t a fluke. I’m here to stay, let’s bring on the other 130-pound champions.”
Cancio was all over Machado from the onset. Immediately taking control of the center of the ring, both hands oscillating toward his opponent’s midsection. For a moment, Machado tried timing the champion coming forward. But Cancio’s crouching approach and the way he blinded his target by jabbing his way in, helped him avoid any real damage.
In the second period, Machado, the taller man, shifted his focus to landing left uppercuts. But Cancio, bloodied now from a cut on his forehead, waded in methodically, never stepping in with the same punch two times in a row. He had Machado veering toward the ropes in the final minute of Round 2 and stuck in the corner for the final 20 seconds.
Cancio’s varied attack was taking effect. The challenger’s legs were like gelatin to close the round.
In the third frame, Cancio continued to plow forward. Closing in on the two-minute mark, the champ shot a right hand to the body. Then went upstairs with a quick four-punch combination that raised Machado’s defense, and freed up a perfect target along his ribcage. Cancio saw the opening a pitched a left hook that dropped Machado to a knee, where referee Rank Caiz Sr. counted him out.
Machado, who was vocal about his tough training camp ahead of their first meeting, offered up minimal excuses this weekend.
“Look he’s a great champion—he showed that tonight,” Machado said.
The punch stats were as expected with an edge toward the triumphant hometown fighter. Cancio landed 59 of 183 total punches (32 percent) and Machado connected on 42 of 195 total punches (22 percent).
Training part-time around a blue-collar job, Cancio quickly became the sport’s favorite parvenu. And with a champion’s mindset is looking to draw more big challenges, mentioning both his mandatory challenger Rene Alvarado and former foe Jo Jo Diaz.
Cancio has now won four in a row. Three of which by knockout, developing into the bodysnatcher of the division. He hasn’t lost since a brief hiatus in 2016, following a disappointing setback against Diaz. There is a California-sized showdown to look forward to.
Elwin Soto (15-1, 11 KO) def. Angel Acosta by twelfth-round knockout (20-2, 20 KO)
Overpowered and out-punched through 11 rounds, Soto orchestrated a come-from-behind knockout in the 12th and final round to dethrone light flyweight champion Acosta. But not without the help of referee Tom Taylor, who was eager to step in for a premature stoppage. Acosta has the meanest left hand in the division but Soto managed to do him one better in Round 12 as he circled out and away from the defending champion’s attack and smacked a left hook of his own that spelled the beginning of the end.
“I always dreamed of this,” the 22-year-old Soto said in the ring after the fight with his new WBO belt in tow. “I worked really hard for this—I put a lot of effort into this. I thought I was going to lose the fight, but thank God I landed that punch and I won the fight. I dedicate this belt and this win to my family and my corner.”
That left hand wasn’t Soto’s only big punch. After a giving up the first two rounds to a bulldozing Acosta, in the third frame the Mexican battler curled another left hook around Acosta’s guard and a follow-up right hand to put the waning champion on the seat of his pants. Acosta would meet the canvas again but the ref warned Soto for shoving.
Acosta, 28, kept his composure, returning to his bread and butter: spamming his left hook—three or four or five at a time.
The fourth round belonged to Soto too. He shoveled punches into a retreating Acosta. A handful of punches still thudded off Soto’s high guard but he was beating his man to the punch. Up close, Acosta leaned over, pausing for a fleeting moment or two, and Soto struck him with more grimace-inducing body blows.
Soto had found his confidence but his low output over the next five rounds put the fight entirely in Acosta’s hands. The Puerto Rican slugger walked down Soto, chugging away, outworking the challenger with thudding combinations: double left hooks, complimented with short right crosses, and more curled shots up and down.
In the sixth stanza, Acosta took a break from hitting at Soto’s guard to implore the referee to warn his opponent for leading with the head. There was a warning in the seventh period and swelling under Acosta’s right eye.
Acosta continued to pound away. Soto floated in and out, indicative of the three Mexican nationals he won as an amateur. He had a keen focus on the champion’s midsection. But his singular punching wasn’t going to be enough to sway the judges. Acosta was chaining together heavy combinations, doubling the challenger’s output.
By Round 9, Soto began running out of gas, resulting in a mauling episode from the challenger to avoid more punishment. His feet no longer springing him around the ring. More left hooks forced Soto to wrap up in the tenth. And in the 11th, Soto’s face was burning bright, catching big shots, catching them well, but too many to pick up a single round since the fourth frame. Acosta followed him around, sitting on right and left hooks.
As is his nature, Acosta went out for the kill to open Round 12. Immediately on top of Soto, twice firing a combo of a straight right hand and two left uppercuts. But 20 seconds in, that fateful left hand found its mark. With Acosta clearly buzzed, Soto jumped him, shoeshining four body punches for the finish.
The replay showed Taylor with a perfect angle of Acosta’s droopy eyes and dazed look that certainly played into his decision to call a halt so early. Acosta was certainly in danger but still standing his ground. And all just a few weeks from Taylor’s contrasting effort in the PBC headliner between Ivan Redkach and Devon Alexander, where Alexander was floored three times in a round before Taylor jumped in.
“I told the ref he shouldn’t have stopped the fight,” Acosta had a chance to share post-fight. “Sure, he hurt me but it wasn’t enough to cause the stoppage.”
The punch stats revealed Soto landed 162 of 497 total punches (33 percent) while Acosta connected on 230 of 806 total punches (28 percent).
Andrew Cancio Looks to Prove His Title Win Was No Fluke
By: Sean Crose
One of the interesting side effects of huge upsets in boxing is that fans are left to wonder if it was all just a fluke. Sometimes they arguably find out– as they did when Lennox Lewis regained his heavyweight title against Hasim Rahman almost twenty years ago. Sometimes, however, it all remains a mystery (we can guess, but can only imagine what would have happened if there was a Tyson-Douglas II). On Friday night, subscribers to DAZN will see for themselves whether Andrew Cancio’s stunning knockout of Alberto Machado last winter was indicative of a simple bad night for Machado – or of something more telling.
The first fight between the two men last February looked like it would go according to plan, as the then 20-0 Machado dropped the 19-4 Cancio hard in the first round. Cancio, however, got to his feet, and then proceeded to fight on, to the point where he viciously attacked the Regular WBA Junior Welterweight titlist Machado’s torso. Machado ended up going down on three occasions, and the referee stopped the bout in the fourth round. It might have been upset of the year material – had a certain Andy Ruiz not come around to face Anthony Joshua in New York a few weeks back. Now, however, Machado is looking for redemption.
On the other hand, Cancio is looking to show the world that he’s exactly where he belongs in the divisional pecking order. An electric company employee in California, Cancio certainly doesn’t engage in the flashiness contemporaries like Tyson Fury, and Adrien Broner do. As Cancio told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports: “I’m 100 percent committed to boxing, it’s just that I don’t get to stay at home and rest all day.” A family man first and foremost, Cancio is a man whose responsibilities keep him grounded.
It’s that underdog quality, however, that leads to Cancio’s appeal. Should he win again Friday, after the opening bell rings at the Fantasy Springs Casino in California, the fighter can expect that appeal to become more widespread. In order to reap greater attention (and, subsequently, more money), though, Cancio will have to get through a Machado who clearly isn’t intending to have a repeat of the first fight. It’s been reported the native of Puerto Rico had trouble in the lead up to his first battle with Cancio. If that’s true, and this camp has been smoother, Machado might prove to be a more formidable foe than he was during the first throw down.
Fight Preview: Cancio vs. Machado II, Acosta vs. Soto
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Often on boxing, a giant upset lends itself to an immediate rematch. And Friday’s return match between Andrew Cancio and Alberto Machado is no different, going down on DAZN from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in California.
The broadcast will featured a championship doubleheader as Angel Acosta looks to extend his knockout streak. The preliminary action gets started at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Cancio and Machado should make their way to the ring at about 11 p.m. ET.
Andrew Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KO) vs. Alberto Machado (21-1, 17 KO)
In February, Machado rolled into California from Puerto Rico with gold around his waist and nearly -2000 betting favorite odds behind him. But three knockdowns in the fateful, fourth round from Cancio would make the native the new WBA super featherweight champion.
Cancio, never tabbed for a future champ, seemed destined to continually fall short against the blue-chip talent of the division. He lost to both JoJo Diaz and Ronny Rios on their ways to fighting or winning world titles. Alas, the California native officially signed with Golden Boy Promotions after upsetting the previously undefeated Aidar Sharibayev, who was billed as one of Kazakstan’s premier prospects.
Then Cancio outboxed Dardan Zenunaj. Or better yet fought off Zenunaj, who never stopped moving forward, culminating in a blistering tenth period. Still Cancio’s cleaner punching took nearly every round off his man, winning across the board.
After opening as an underdog (again) against Machado, Cancio is now sitting at -200. Machado now knows what dog odds feels like, currently as low as two-to-one. Machado has been undervalued before, namely by the World Boxing Association (WBA)—a sanctioning body already known for malfeasance and somehow continues to outdo themselves.
After ringing up an undefeated record, including nine consecutive first- or second-round knockouts, Machado faced Jezzrel Corrales for the WBA’s 130-pound “super” belt. Both men hit the deck before Machado sparked Corrales in Round 8 and this is where the snafu unfolds.
Corrales had earned the distinction (“super” champ, instead of regular) by beating longtime belt holder Takashi Uchiyama. But he missed weight opposite Machado, leaving the gold only available to Machado. But the powers that be went ahead and made Gervonta Davis their “super” champion before Machado could even get back into the ring for his first title defense.
Machado carried on and defended his ambiguous title twice. Last July, he decisioned Don King’s warrior Rafael Mensah. And followed that up with a first-round destruction of former Golden Gloves champion Yuandale Evans.
Before battling Cancio, anticipation was building for a unification between Machado and Davis. Then a few flinging left hands and right hands to the body from Cancio flipped the script. Now Cancio has a chance to secure those kind superfights for himself.
Angel Acosta (20-1, 20 KO) vs. Elwin Soto (14-1, 10 KO)
Still on the right side of 30, Acosta has his fourth title defense lined up this weekend as he takes on Soto, of Mexico.
Puerto Rico’s Acosta orchestrated another knockout in his previous fight, where made easy work of divisional immortal Ganigan Lopez. It was the defending champion’s first start on DAZN.
All Acosta had to do to find himself fighting on mainstream airwaves was record every one of his wins by knockout—every single one. In March, at Ganigan’s expense, he continued the endeavor, stopped the hardened contender in eight rounds after having before that been relegated to defending his crown on Facebook.
Acosta’s terrorizing left hook resembles a converted orthodox. In lieu of a real jab, he repeatedly rams the shot up and down the side of his victims, complimenting it here and there with curling right uppercuts and overhands. As he demonstrated in his tenth-round finish of Juan Alejo, Acosta is also adept at cutting off the ring.
He’s been defeated just once, losing to Kosei Tanaka but rattled the Japanese virtuoso in the latter stages. Acosta has since rebounded to lift the WBO belt amid four straight victories.
Soto, 22, has never faced a top-level opponent—just two men on his record had more than just 5 professional wins. In his second year as a pro, he suffered his lone loss, a four-round decision, to a novice by name of Danny Andujo. The Mexican-born challenger has yet to lose again, rattling off 12 consecutive wins—mostly by knockout, to his credit.
Naturally, Soto is heading into the weekend as a hefty underdog (+600). He is 2-0 in 2019 (including one victory over a winless palooka) and this unexpected opportunity will be his first time training for 12 championship rounds.
Golden Boy Boxing on DAZN Recap: Cancio Stuns Machado with Knockout, Vargas Defeats Manzanilla
By: William Holmes
The Fantasy Springs Resort Casino was the host site of tonight’s Golden Boy Boxing on DAZN offering as two world title fights were on the line.
The undercard featured victories by Joseph Diaz Jr., over Charles Huerta and Avat Hovhannisyan over Lolito Sonsona.
Tureano Johnson and Fernando Castaneda fought a rugged bout to the end with an unsatisfying draw with scores of 77-75, 77-75, and 76-76.
The co-main event of the evening was between Rey Vargas (32-0) and Franklin Manzanilla (18-4) for the WBC Super Bantamweight Title. Manzanilla, a Venezuelan, had 17 of his wins come by way of knockout. Vargas had stopped 22 of his opponents.
Both fighters looked to be in excellent shape and Vargas was the taller fight of the two. Manzanilla did well fighting on the inside but Vargas found his range by the end of the first and was able to land some good left hooks.
Vargas continued to land some good shots to the body and head in the second round, before Manzanilla landed a vicious left hook to the chin that sent Vargas crashing to the mat. Vargas was able to get back to his feet, but had to frantically hold on in order to survive the round.
Vargas stayed behind his jab and straight right hands in the third round and had Manzanilla hurt from combinations including a vicious right hand left hook combo in the fourth.
Vargas maintained control in the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds and was able to maintain a safe distance with his jab and body shots, though Manzanilla was able to rough him up in tight and land some decent shots to the body.
Manzanilla rough fighting cost him two points in the fight, including for throw a punch after a break in the eighth round. Vargas had cuts by both of his eyes in the eighth round.
A doctor had to check Vargas in the ninth round, but Vargas was able to battle on and continue to outbox Manzanilla. Vargas did eat a heavy straight left hand in the eleventh round, but was placed in any trouble for the remainder of the fight.
The final scores were 117-108 on all three scorecards for Rey Vargas.
The WBA Super Featherweight Title was on the line in the main event as Alberto Machado (21-0) faced off against Andrew Cancio (19-4-2) in the main event of the evening.
Machado, a southpaw, was a heavy betting favorite in this fight and was able to drop Cancio early with a right uppercut to the chin. Cancio was able to get up by the count of nine, and had to hold off a pressing Macahdo for the remainder of the round.
Machado was looking for the uppercut in the second round but Cancio looked recovered from the earlier knockdown and was landing good punches to the body. His body work opened up some heavy shots to the head of Macahdo and was able to end the second round very strong, but not without having a cut near his left eye.
Cancio had all the momentum in the fight in the third round as he was battering Machado with combinations to the body and head and pressed forward with heavy shots. He had a very dominating third round and was able to attack from all angles.
Macahado started off the fourth round by circling away from Cancio, but Cancio pressed forward with his body attacks and was able to knock Machado down with a right to the body. Machado go up before the count of nine but succumbed to another body attack for the second knockdown of the round. Machado barely beat the count and was still badly hurt before another combination to the body sent Machado down for the final time as the referee quickly waived off the fight.
Cancio wins by KO at 2:16 of the fourth round in a stunning upset.
DAZN Boxing Preview: Machado vs. Cancio, Vargas vs. Manzanilla
By: Hector Franco
This upcoming weekend two Super Featherweight titles will be on the line in the state of California. Further cementing the new era’s boxing divide amongst promoters, networks and now streaming services WBA “Super” 130-pound champion Gervonta Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) will be defending his title against Hugo Ruiz in Carson, California and “Regular” WBA 130-pound champion Alberto Machado (21-0, 17 KOs) will be defending his title against Andrew Cancio (19-4-2, 14 KOs).
The fact is that Machado and Davis should be fighting each other to determine who is the real WBA 130-pound champion. Regardless, Machado will be attempting to make his third straight title defense. Machado who hails from Rios Piedras, Puerto Rico is one of the three current male Puerto Rican boxing champions. The list includes WBO Light Flyweight champion Angel Acosta and IBF Bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez. The man known as “El Explosivo” is one of the tallest 130-pounders in the sport standing at 5’10 with a 72-inch reach to accompany his southpaw stance. In his previous title defense, he was able to showcase his tremendous punching power by scoring a first-round knockout against Yuandale Evans on the undercard of Daniel Jacobs’ IBF middleweight title win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
Machado’s opponent Cancio has struggled with consistently staying active for large portions of his career. Cancio is a single father who currently works full-time for the Southern California Gas Company. Cancio did not fight in all of 2010 and 2017 including fighting just once in 2013, 2014 and 2015. At this point of his career, Cancio has faced tougher competition than Machado including facing the likes of Rocky Juarez, Jerry Belmontes, Ronny Rios, and Joseph Diaz.
Following Cancio’s stoppage loss to Diaz in September 2016, he made his return in April 2018. The California native took on highly touted prospect and decorated amateur Aidar Sharibayev in a bout that not many gave him a chance to win. In one of the most significant upsets of that year, Cancio was able to drop the Kazakhstani fighter in the third and fifth rounds in route to a 10th round stoppage victory. Cancio followed his victory over Sharibayev with a ten-round unanimous decision over Albania’s Dardan Zenunaj last August.
The fighter known as “El Chango” was not expecting to return to boxing and get a title opportunity as quickly as he did. Looking at how much trouble and determination he has shown in his bouts in the past, Machado will have his hands full on Saturday night.
Observing the Puerto Rican’s physical dimensions, it is unclear as to how long he will remain in the Super Featherweight division. Should Machado move up to the Lightweight division, he will have fighters such as Vasyl Lomachenko, Richard Commey and fellow countrymen Jose Pedraza awaiting him. It will be interesting to see how Machado fairs against the other champions at Super Featherweight such as Miguel Berchelt, Tevin Farmer and Masayuki Ito.
The main supporting bout for the card will feature another championship bout as WBC Super Bantamweight champion Rey Vargas (32-0, 22 KOs) will be attempting to make his fourth successful title defense against Venezuela’s Franklin Manzanilla. Vargas won his title in February 2017 when he traveled to the United Kingdom to take on Gavin McDonnell. The Mexico native was able to pull off the upset victory with a majority decision. Since winning the title, Vargas has gone one to score three dominant victories including wins over Ronny Rios, Oscar Negrete, and Azat Hovhannisyan.
Vargas’ opponent, Manzanilla earned his title opportunity by defeating Mexico’s Julio Ceja in May 2018 after four rounds of action. The Venezuelan puncher was brought in for Ceja to get some rounds and stay sharp while he awaited a title fight. At 30 years of age, Manzanilla will be making his United States debut against the best opponent of his career.
As we have seen throughout boxing history upsets can happen on any night. We saw earlier this year when Manzanilla’s fellow Venezuelan countryman Jorge Linares was upset with a first-round stoppage at the hands of Pablo Cesar Cano. While not much is known about Manzanilla, he at the very least has a punchers chance against Vargas.
The card will take place at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. The show will be streamed on DAZN at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT
ESPN Boxing Preview: Cancio vs. Zenunaj, Kamegai vs. Vendetti
By: Dylan Smith
Andrew Cancio vs. Dardan Zenunaj and Yoshihiro Kamegai vs. Greg Vendetti
Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, US. On Friday 17th August 2018
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes 11 p.m. ET
The Main event of the Evening
Californian Andrew ‘El Chango’ Cancio WBA Intercontinental Super Featherweight Champion is a young hungry fighter also working a day job to support his family. His record is 18-4-2 with 14 knockouts. Training in Knuckleheadz gym with the likes of Victor Ortiz and Francisco Santana his corner have a wealth of experience. He is a pressure fighter who digs in his heels and presses forward throwing lots of punches from different angles. With a height of 5’6” and a reach of 68” he is about average for the 130lb weight class but holds a lot of power.
Even after a 572 day lay off he displayed a dominant performance against his last opponent, a tough Kazakhstan Aidar Sharibayev. Cancio threw a total of 735 punches and although only 14% were jabs, he utilised them to find his range to set up combination punches. Also using a perfectly timed lead left hook to put his man down in the 3rd and then again in the 5th with a straight right. Cancio went on to Stop him in the 10th which shows He can carry his power up until the last round of the fight. Andrew Cancio can take a punch well and doesn’t mind taking a couple in order to land a few of his own.
You can expect to see ‘El Chango’ (The Monkey) standing his ground, moving forward using his jabs to set up decent powerful combinations. There will be no dancing around or stepping backwards from Cancio and he will meet his opponent head on. You will see him throw the lead left hook and the straight right hand and may even score a few knock downs.
Albanian Dardan Zenunaj is the former WBA international Super Featherweight champion and has a record of 14-4-0 with 11 ko’s. He is a quick starter and likes to throw heavy hooks to the body and downward chopping rights to the head. He has a good chin and his stamina makes him able to throw none stop punches right the way until the last round. With good footwork he aggressively charges forward with a tight guard to pressure his opponents, forcing them to throw so he can counter.
At 5’7” with a 68.5” reach he is about average for 130lbs but has half an inch reach over Cancio. Although Darda is 2 years older, his debut was in 2011 so Cancio has 5 years more experience in the professional ranks. However having been trained by Robert Garcia he has a wealth of knowledge of instruction in the ring.
Dardan’s last win was against Recky Duley where he dropped his opponent several times before the referee finally stopped it in the 3rd round. Although he lost his last fight it was against a gritty opponent in Carlos Morales who is due to fight the young talented up and comer Ryan Garcia.
Zenunaj will likely walk forward with a tight guard and try to counter Cancio. He will force the pace and is likely to throw close to 100 punches per round.
Even though Dardan Zenunaj trains in California, Andrew Cancio will have the advantage of the home crowd. It will be a high paced fight with both boxers coming forward. Be prepared for an action packed fight with toe to toe action like they are fighting in a phone booth. Who will be the first to take a step back? It’s highly likely there will be a knockout in this bout.
The Co-Main Event of the Evening.
Japanese Yoshihiro Kamegai has a record of 27-4-2 with 24 KO’s. Although having 4 losses on his record he has never been knocked out which is testament to his toughness and ability to absorb punishment. Even at 35 years of age he has fantastic cardio and continuously charges forward. Yoshihiro has a style that looks like and old school boxer brawler, throwing short hooks from the waist belt. He uses good movement to cut off the ring, forcing his opponent against the ropes to throw close range hooks. He should be called the Japanese firefighter as he goes to war in every fight, standing in the pocket and doesn’t back away.
In his last fight in August 2017 was with a legend of the sport, former 5 weight world champion Miguel Cotto for the vacant junior middleweight title. Although losing by a unanimous points decision, at the beginning of every round he ran at Cotto and didn’t stop to take a breather. Kamegai displayed an ability to roll with the punches, turning his head from side to side. Miguel dished out a huge amount of punishment. Even though behind by many rounds, Yoshihiro never gave up and continued to come forward until the very last round.
His last win was against Jesus Soto Karass. It was a rematch having previously fought him a few months before to a decision draw. In this fight however he secured a victory over Jesus. After a barrage of brutal combinations beat him so badly it forced Soto Karass to retire on his stool at the end of the 8th round.
Yoshihiro Kamegai will not be put off by blood or pain and you will likely see him try to resist until the end. With his high work rate and relentless pressure, attempt to Push Greg Vendetti back against the ropes to throw wild hooks to the body and head.
Greg ‘The Villain’ Vendetti New England Junior Middleweight Champion has a record of 19-2-1 with 12 KO’s. He is a powerful puncher, stocky with a solid base. He likes to get up close and uses fantastic pivotal movement, oscillating his upper body, using the momentum to hurl heavy hooks. Mike Tyson-esque from the body movement, hooks and even the black shorts, he has also knocked out his last 2 opponents both in the first round.
Vendetti is a young fighter of 28 years of age. Only debuting in 2013 however he has been very active and this will be his 5th fight in 12 months. The Villain is on a 15 fight win streak and has never been stopped, which is testimony to his toughness.
Greg ‘The Villain’ Vendetti will try to out land Kamegai and force him to miss with his upper body movement. It is likely Greg will want to finish by knockout in brutal fashion. He will have a great test ahead in the Japanese warrior Yoshihiro Kamegai.
Both fighters will stand their ground and look to dominate the other with their toughness. Like in true Samurai spirit they will fight until the end and not give up. It’s going to be interesting to see the young fighter’s stamina to be tested and the older fighter’s resilience put to measure. An interesting fight of styles will clash as they both come forward and pull the trigger.
HBO PPV Undercard Results: De La Hoya and Diaz Win Easily, Monroe Decisions Rosado
HBO PPV Undercard Results: De La Hoya and Diaz Win Easily,
By: William Holmes
Golden Boy Promotions and HBO put on a four fight pay per view card tonight live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Diego De La Hoya (15-0) , the nephew of Oscar De La Hoya, opened up the card in the division against Luis Orlando Del Valle (22-2) in the super bantamweight division. This bout was for the WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Championship.
De La Hoya was seven years younger than Del Valle and was taking a big step up in competition. De La Hoya was looking for his straight right counter early in the first round but was able to find range with his jab. Del Valle was knocked stumbling backwards into the corner in the middle of the round from a three punch combination, and the few punches he landed didn’t phase De La Hoya.
The second and third rounds were similar in that Del Valle would start off strong and De La Hoya would finish the roung strong. Del Valle showed he was willing to exchange with De La Hoya and held his own during their exchanges, but by the end of the third round it was De La Hoya who was winning the exchanges more frequently.
De La Hoya was tagged early in the fourth round with a sharp right cross, but he fired back with digging body shots. De La Hoya remained the aggressor for the remainder of the fourth and looked like he hurt Del Valle several times. De La Hoya also had control during the fifth round and was able to pop shot Del Valle at a safe range.
Del Valle was hit hard with a straight right counter in the first minute of the sixth round, and he remained tentative for the remainder. By the seventh round Del Valle’s right eye was showing signs of swelling. De La Hoya punished Del Valle to the body and to the head and was physically imposing his will.
Neither boxer stepped on the gas pedal in the eighth and ninth rounds, but De La Hoya was in clear control and landed the higher number of punches.
Del Valle needed a knockout in the final round to win the bout, but that knockout never came.
Diego De La Hoya remained undefeated with decision victory with scores of 100-90, 99-91, and 99-91.
Joseph Diaz Jr. (21-0) and Andrew Cancio (17-3-2) was the next bout of the night in the featherweight division.
Joseph Diaz was a member of the 2012 United States Olympic team and was four years younger than Cancio.
Diaz, a southpaw, stuck to the body in the opening two rounds and was looked very comfortable in the ring. He was able to avoid the punches of Cancio with solid upper body movement and kept his head an elusive target.
Cancio was able to get within striking range in the third round, but took a pounding from Diaz when he got in tight and got his nose busted in the process. Cancio was unable to handle the hand speed of Diaz.
Cancio was able to briefly trap Diaz in the corner in the opening minute of the fourth round and landed some solid body shots, but Diaz took control in the final two minutes and had the head of Cancio snapping backwards from several crisp punches.
Diaz really turned up the pressure in the fifth round and pounded Cancio throughout with combinations at will. Cancio looked outclassed and bewildered, and was simply out of his league.
Diaz’s dominance inside the ring wasn’t impressing the crowd as a wave broke out at the stadium in the sixth round, but at this point it was even clear to the regular fans in attendance that Cancio stood no shot.
Cancio corner was thinking about stopping the fight before the start of the seventh round but they sent him back into the ring. But this round was no different from the previous rounds and he was a punching bag for the talented Diaz.
Diaz’s offensive output dipped in the eighth round, but he still landed at a higher clip and the harder punches. Cancio’s corner repeatedly asked him if he wanted them to stop the fight, but Cancio refused and went back out for the ninth round. Hwoever, in the middle of the round Cancio’s corner wisely decided to stop the fight.
Joseph Diaz impressed with a TKO victory at 2:27 of the ninth round.
Gabriel Rosado (23-9) and Willie Monroe Jr. (20-2) met in the final bout of the televised undercard in the middleweight division.
Rosado looked like the taller fighter, but he was standing straight up while Monroe was boxing with his knees slightly bent. Monroe was able to stay out of Rosado’s range for most of the first round and boxed Rosado effectively by landing the higher number of punches, but none of them could be considered power shots.
Neither Monroe nor Rosado took many risks in the second or third round, but Monroe was landing more punches than Rosado and fought very defensively. The fans started to boo and whistle the lack of action in the third round.
The wave started again in the fourth round, and Monroe continued to safely outbox Rosado. Rosado complained to the referee in the fifth round from an apparent backhand landed by Monroe, but offered little offense after the complaint.
Monroe was sharp in the sixth round and landed several straight left crosses and quick counter jabs. Monroe was able to continue to stay out of the range of Rosado in the seventh round as Rosado was mainly landing at air when he threw punches, but he was pressing the pace and that could have factored in his favor in the eyes of the judges.
Rosado was able to land a few flurries at the end of the eighth round and may have stolen it. It was his most effective offensive output at this stage of the bout.
A cut opened up near the back of the head of Rosado in the ninth round and the referee briefly stopped it to get it attended to, but afterwards both boxers finally threw power shots and both landed heavy shots. Rosado may have scored a knockdown at the end of the round, but the referee ruled it a slip.
Rosado was pressing forward more in the tenth round, but he was not able to land any punches of note while Monroe side stepped him and pop shotted him from the outside.
Rosado needed at least a knockdown in the final two rounds in order to win the bout,but a headbutt in the eleventh round badly swelled and cut the left eye of Rosado and made it much more difficult. Rosado ended the fight better than he started, but it was too little too late.
The judges scored the bout 116-112, 118-110, 117-111 for Willie Monroe Jr.