Andrew Cancio defends his WBA “world” super featherweight title against Alberto Machado on Friday night on DAZN, a rematch of a thrilling February upset.
Our staffers make their picks.
Machado claims he had a terrible weight cut in February and that he was weak in the ring. Maybe so. So here he is coming back to 130 to rematch Cancio. Don’t get me wrong, I get he wants revenge and his belt back, even if it’s just one last fight at the weight. There’s pride involved and it’s easy to respect Machado’s choice to pursue the rematch, but for me it’s hard to have confidence that he’s going to come in better than he was in February.
If he does, yes, he should win, as he “should have” won the first fight. But Cancio also will have a ton of confidence here, knows his pressure attack can bother Cancio, and I have to wonder if that wasn’t more Machado’s downfall than just poor weight cut management or a plain inability to comfortably make 130 anymore. Machado has the ability to blast Cancio out early — he almost did in the first fight — but if Cancio extends this fight, and I think he will, my money would be on him wearing Machado down again. Not so quick this time, but repeat instead of revenge. Cancio TKO-9
This is a fight I’ve actually given a fair amount of thought to and still find myself torn. I’m not really sure how I feel about either fighter heading into this rematch. For one, Cancio continues to work a full-time schedule at a local gas company and train in the off hours. I’m not hating on the man for being reasonable enough to know that he’s not earning enough from boxing to quit his main source of income, but I don’t really know if one can continually compete at the world level without being completely dedicated to the sport alone.
As for Machado, well, he comes into this rematch without a noticeable concern in the world. That actually concerns me a little, especially because he did lose his belt to Cancio last time around. Machado sort of brushes all that off by attributing the loss to a poor weight cut which affected his conditioning, but that also doesn’t leave me completely convinced that the cut won’t affect him this time as well. That said, there’s just something about Cancio that I saw in recent interview that leads me to believe he’s already eyeing the end of his career. I’m going to take Machado to win his belt back here. Machado UD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg
The weird thing about the first fight was its lack of continuity; it wasn’t like Joshua-Ruiz, where it was fairly even before the mutual knockdowns, or like Kovalev-Alvarez I, where one fighter had full control before getting stopped out of nowhere. For the first round and a half, Machado looked leagues better than Cancio; bigger, crisper, harder-hitting, more mobile. Then Cancio hit him with a good shot and “El Explosivo” fell apart, suddenly struggling to keep the shorter man off of him or make any real impact with his punches until the climactic body shot.
The pivotal question is whether Machado was right about a botched weight cut being the culprit. Cancio, who’s only ever been finished standing, will almost assuredly withstand Machado’s power until he can land a similar blow as the first time. If Machado makes like the Corrales fight and keeps his composure under pressure, he has the skills, build, and power to win this easily. I just can’t have any faith in it, especially with the weight issues. Machado cruises for a little longer this time before getting clipped and initiating the spiral. Cancio TKO-8
It’s the old heart vs. head conundrum in a toss up between repeat and revenge. So often I find myself leaning towards revenge for the fallen champion after a shock defeat, assuming the lessons would be learned in the subsequent camp – maybe I’m the one that needs to learn the lesson of thunder so often striking twice in this sport.
Cancio dominated an aggressive fourth round in the first meeting with ferocious body attacks to the 5ft 10” frame of Machado proving too much for the southpaw to handle. It all looked so different after the defending champion dropped Cancio in the opening round with a stiff uppercut – the Puerto Rican will be relying on his long levers to chop down the champion who will once again march forward attempting to walk through fire. Screw it, I’m sticking to my guns with revenge. Machado is a freak at this weight and should be smart enough to negate the one-dimensional attacks of the champion. Providing he isn’t completely drained at the weight, he should regain his crown before moving up to lightweight. Machado TKO-8