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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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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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