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Corrales vs Machado: Fight preview and matchup

Jezreel Corrales returns to HBO on Saturday to take on Alberto Machado in a champion-prospect matchup.

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Jezreel Corrales

Jezreel Corrales v Takashi Uchiyama - WBA Super World Super Featherweight Title Bout Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Record: 22-1 (8 KO) ... Streak: W9 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 9-0 (1 NC) ... Stance: Southpaw ... Height/Reach: 5'6" / 67" ... Age: 26

Thoughts: Corrales burst onto the world scene in April 2016 in Japan, upsetting Takashi Uchiyama with a second-round knockout to claim the WBA super featherweight title, ending a long reign by the Japanese star that had seen at or near the very top of the 130-pound ranks.

Proving it was no mere fluke, Corrales rematched Uchiyama on New Year’s Eve 2016, again in Japan, and this time won a 12-round split decision. Doing that on the road is never easy, and even more than their first meeting, it proved Corrales was a legitimate top fighter in the division.

In April of this year, Corrales signed with Golden Boy Promotions, a major move that gave him an opening to come to the United States and HBO. His first fight on the network came on July 15, when he was matched with tricky veteran Robinson Castellanos.

Corrales escaped with his title that night, winning a majority technical decision, but he had plenty of trouble. Both myself and Patrick L. Stumberg had the fight 94-94 when it was cut short in the 10th round. Corrales was down twice.

That night, we saw Corrales doing a lot of holding in a tough fight, which also contained a lot of head clashes. It was an ugly fight at times, and Corrales was far from a fan favorite at the Forum in Inglewood.

This Saturday, he gets a chance to show a bit more, but on paper, this is no showcase. Alberto Machado is a good prospect — tall and long for a 130-pounder, he has big power, and if he finds his range, could be a lot of trouble.

But Corrales is tested in ways that Machado isn’t, and he’s a very crafty guy, too. If he can neutralize Machado’s power, he could out-fox and out-box him

Alberto Machado

Boxing: Machado vs Luckey Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 18-0 (15 KO) ... Streak: W18 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Southpaw ... Height/Reach: 5'10" / 72" ... Age: 27

Thoughts: A prospect from Puerto Rico, Machado has yet to step up in competition, and that’s what he’ll be doing here — in a big way, and against a guy who isn’t going to be easy for anyone to beat.

There’s a chance Machado’s power can win him this fight, but he did show in his last fight, a matchup with fellow prospect Carlos Morales, that he can go deeper into fights. He had to go a full 10 with Morales in that one, and won on wide scores, dropping Morales in the second round.

Outside of Morales, Machado has beaten a few veterans: Jose Luis Araiza, Miguel Angel Mendoza, Orlando Rizo. He stopped all of them inside of two rounds.

There’s not a lot to do other than project what Machado can be, and the question is whether or not he’s stepping up before he’s ready, or if, for better or worse, he’s as ready as he’s going to get for this type of fight.

His on-paper advantages are clear. He’s 5’10”, very tall for the division, and with that has a long reach. Physically, he could be a big problem for Corrales, but it will only happen if he has the skills to make those dimensions matter.

Matchup Grade: B-. I like this one, but it’s half a mystery what it’ll wind up being, and that’s because we haven’t seen Machado in against a top opponent yet. He’s going from the prospect circle to the upper echelon of the division here. If he proves the real deal, we may have a really good fight and clash of styles. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.

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