This Friday night on DAZN, Andrew Cancio and Alberto Machado meet again, following Cancio’s big upset of Machado in February.
What’s at stake?
Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KO) will be defending the WBA’s secondary “world” 130-pound title against the man he took it from, Machado (21-1, 17 KO). Machado was a huge favorite in their first meeting, and Cancio beating him was probably the frontrunner for Upset of the Year before Joshua-Ruiz. Machado is looking for revenge, of course, while Cancio aims to prove the first fight was no fluke.
How did Andrew Cancio get here?
The 30-year-old Cancio is a likable blue collar battler, a guy who turned pro in 2006 and has been sort of in and out of the sport at various times. After starting his career 10-1-2, he left boxing at age 20 after a May 2009 win in Sacramento, but returned a little over two years later.
In his fourth fight back in June 2012, he picked up a career-best win over Rocky Juarez, a former amateur star who won silver at the 2000 Olympics who had a decent pro career but by then was on a long losing streak.
From there, Cancio was up-and-down. He lost a decision to Roger Gonzalez, then beat Jerry Belmontes, then lost to Ronny Rios, then knocked out Rene Alvarado and former 108- and 115-pound titleholder Hugo Cazares.
Cancio got a spot on the Canelo-Liam Smith card in Sept. 2016, losing to prospect Joseph Diaz Jr, a 2012 US Olympian, a ninth round stoppage. It was Cancio’s fourth pro loss, his first time stopped. It was a dominant, one-sided performance from Diaz. Cancio was battered in the fight, and it looked like he’d hit the wall. He left boxing for a second time, packing it in again at age 28.
But once more, Cancio came back in April 2018. He stopped unbeaten Kazakh prospect Aidar Sharibayev, who never fought again, and followed that up four months later with a decision victory over Dardan Zenunaj.
The call to face Machado came in, giving Cancio his first shot at a recognized title. To be clear — or as clear as these things can be in boxing — Cancio’s title is largely not considered a “real” title, as the WBA have Gervonta Davis as their “super world” titleholder at 130 pounds. But for Cancio, a shot at that belt meant more than just a shot at the belt — it was a chance to become a serious player at 130. Machado was not considered a “real” titleholder by many, either, but he was unbeaten, on a good run, and a strong contender in the division.
Machado was also the huge favorite. And Cancio went down in the first round, so things were going according to plan. It wasn’t a little flash knockdown, either, it was a real knockdown, and Cancio was hurt.
But Cancio beat the count and fought back. He hurt Machado in the third, and his pressure was clearly getting to the Puerto Rican. In the fourth round, Machado went down three times, and Cancio shocked the world, picking up the stoppage, the belt, and the status. After over 12 years in the pro ranks, Andrew Cancio had arrived, finally breaking through.
How did Alberto Machado get here?
Machado was a good amateur in Puerto Rico, but came up short of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics and went pro in November of that year. Naturally right handed, he fights southpaw and plowed through his early opposition.
He stepped up his competition a bit by 2016 and was dominating experienced gatekeeper types. 13 of his first 17 fights were finished within the first two rounds, and then he was matched against Carlos Morales in Aug. 2017, who had never been stopped. Morales went a full 10 with Machado, but was down in the second and lost nearly every round. It proved that Machado wasn’t just a smash-and-bash fighter who had to finish early.
Two months later, the promising young fighter found himself in with Jezzrel Corrales for a WBA 130-pound title. Corrales missed weight but the fight went on, and the crafty Panamanian gave Machado fits with his style. Then in the eighth round, Machado caught Corrales and dropped him, with Corrales getting up but in obviously bad shape, and the fight stopped there.
In 2018, Machado made a pair of successful defenses, dominating Rafael Mensah over 12 and blasting out Yuandale Evans in the first round. Cancio figured to be another routine defense as Machado, but things didn’t go as planned.
Machado reportedly had trouble making the weight in February, but nonetheless has exercised his rematch clause. That may not be a great idea, obviously, but clearly he cares deeply about getting revenge and the belt back.
How do the fighters match up?
Cancio is 5’6” with a 68-inch reach, Machado much taller and longer at 5’10” with a 72-inch reach. But we’ve seen them fight once already, so we kind of know how they match up. Machado’s power is real, it wasn’t exposed in that loss — he put Cancio down, after all. But Cancio’s toughness and pressure style gave Machado serious problems. Maybe it was down to Machado being drained and weaker than normal. Maybe not, though. They make for an interesting style clash either way.
Who’s the favorite?
No odds listed as of this writing, but they’ll be nothing like the odds from the first fight.
Who will win?
Check back for our staff picks on Thursday at Noon ET!
- Angel “Tito” Acosta (20-1, 20 KO) will defend his WBO 108-pound title against Elwin Soto in a Puerto Rico vs Mexico matchup. Acosta, 28, is the much more experienced fighter, has been in at top level for a couple years. His only loss came to Kosei Tanaka, and otherwise he’s stopped everyone he’s fought. Soto, 22, has only been pro since Oct. 2016. He lost his third fight in Feb. 2017, and has yet to face a contender. But he’s really a true blank canvas — we have no idea what he is or might be, which can make a fighter dangerous to take on, or can make them easy pickings.