The clock struck 12 on Andrew Cancio last night in Indio, California, as the local favorite was dominated in his rematch with Rene Alvarado, dropping the WBA “world” super featherweight title in a one-sided beating that was stopped after seven rounds.
Alvarado (32-8, 21 KO) was stopped in eight by Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KO) when they met four years ago, and Cancio was a sincere favorite in last night’s second meeting, having come in really strong on back-to-back wipeouts of Alberto Machado.
But the 31-year-old Cancio appeared to have nothing last night, and Alvarado took full advantage. The fight was a true domination, with referee Raul Caiz Sr stopping the fight in the corner after he’d seen enough. Judges had it 69-64, 70-63, and 70-63 Alvarado at the time of stoppage.
It’s a huge win for the 30-year-old Nicaraguan, who like Cancio has been seen for years as a solid second-tier fighter but is now on a strong run and commanding some respect at 130 pounds. That said, he’ll also be seen as vulnerable going forward — we’ve probably all been reminded of a lesson in the very similar case of Cancio.
The win also means that both Rene and his twin brother Felix have current claims to world titles. Felix holds the IBF title at 108 pounds.
“It’s a feeling very hard to describe,” said Alvarado. “It’s something I’ve wanted ever since I started my career, and now Nicaragua has another world champion, twin brothers. We were looking for new opportunities, not necessarily to avenge a loss, but opportunities to become a world champion. And that’s what we did. Cancio’s going to come back from this but we fought our hearts out and it was a tough fight.”
Alvarado also spoke of the significant of winning this fight on this specific date.
”My objective was to make sure that I become a world champion on this important day, the 23rd of November, when 45 years ago, Alexis Arguello became a world champion for the first time (and Nicaragua’s first world champion). And now for the first time, we have two world champions who are twin brothers from Nicaragua. That was the objective.”
A crestfallen Cancio gave all credit to his rival.
“We felt great throughout camp, and I just couldn’t get off,” said Cancio. “I fought a hell of a fight tonight. I was two steps behind him. There’s nothing I can say. He fought his fight tonight and he got his revenge in the rematch. Congratulations to him. He did exactly what I did. He had to come from behind to come over here and become a world champion. He fought a hell of a fight and there’s nothing I can say besides congratulate him and enjoy this.I know how it feels. Now we just have to go back to the drawing board, and I have to talk it over with my team. Tonight, wasn’t my night but it is what it is. I have to take this loss as a champion and just go back home and regroup and see what we have to do.”
He continued, “I kept trying, but tonight was his night. He got off very well. I got hit with too many shots. I had a great camp; there’s no excuses about it, and the better man won tonight. It’s well-deserved; he fought a tremendous fight. I’ve been here before. It is what it is. It’s part of the game.”
In the co-feature, China’s Xu Can won a wide decision over Manny Robles III to retain the WBA featherweight title, which will be the only WBA featherweight title as soon as Leo Santa Cruz vacates his “super world” belt to keep campaigning at 130.
Can (18-2, 3 KO) won on scores of 118-110, 119-109, and 120-108 over Robles (18-1, 8 KO), who was once thought of as a blue chipper but has now been sort of progressively exposed in three straight fights. After a pair of tough wins over Jose Gonzalez and Rigoberto Hermosillo — both split decisions — he was thrown into the deep water against Can, and he didn’t swim.
Can, 25, took the opportunity to call out IBF titleholder Josh Warrington for a unification.
“Josh! You coming out? Now I’m here,” he said. “You see I’m here, right? Let’s fight. Let’s unify.”
Can said he’d take the fight “anywhere,” meaning he’s in theory open to going to the United Kingdom, where Warrington has a strong fan base in Leeds, England. Warrington is promoted by Frank Warren, and Warren and Golden Boy don’t necessarily work together a lot, but Golden Boy has been open to letting its fighters take opportunities like this recently, so it’s possible.
In another rematch on a night filled with them, Rashidi Ellis made it “repeat” with a decision win over Eddie Gomez. Ellis had knocked Gomez out about three years ago in just 79 seconds.
Gomez (23-4, 13 KO), once considered a top prospect out of New York, has not lived up to the hype as a pro but he came in with three straight wins and a lot of claims that he was a reinvigorated fighter. But the 27-year-old Bronx product lost to Ellis again, this time on scores of 99-91, 99-91, and 100-90.
“Speedy” Ellis (22-0, 14 KO) is a 26-year-old fighter starting to emerge in the 147-pound division, which is ruled by a handful of top fighters but has plenty of opportunity open for ladder-climbing.
“This was a good fight and a good test for me,” said Ellis. “For me it wasn’t personal. They made it personal. It was because I knocked him out in the first round of our first right. I’d be mad too if that were me. Now I just want bigger fighters. I want to fight for a world title.”