Angel Fierro came in on about a week’s notice to face Alberto Machado in tonight’s Ring City USA main event from Puerto Rico, and had to pull himself off the canvas twice before storming back to knock Machado out in the sixth round.
Former 130-pound titlist Machado (22-3, 18 KO) was looking strong and sharp at 135 here, dropping Fierro (18-1-1, 14 KO) on counter right hooks in the first and second rounds. He was setting up that shot well, boxing effectively, and looked really good. He won the third round, too, quite clearly, battering Fierro to the body in an attempt to drop the hands even more going forward.
Then it happened. Fierro channeled a bit of the attack that worked well for Andrew Cancio in a pair of 2019 wins over Machado, hammering the Puerto Rican to the body himself and starting to turn the tide in the fourth round. In the fifth, it was clear that the fourth was no one-off round, and that Fierro was getting to Machado, landing good shots to the body and head.
Early in the sixth, Machado was dropped on a left hook from Fierro, and did not beat the count, giving the 22-year-old from Tijuana a big upset win and putting a really exciting, albeit somewhat minor, new chapter into the Mexico vs Puerto Rico boxing rivalry.
Machado, 30, was a rising star just a few years back, but he’s now lost three of four fights and you have to wonder where he goes from here. It’s unlikely he’ll just disappear from boxing, but Ring City’s Brian Campbell made a comparison that may be dead on when he brought up Machado’s similarities to fellow Puerto Rican southpaw Juan Manuel Lopez.
Lopez was once hugely promising, too, thought to possibly be Puerto Rico’s next superstar at one point, before he ran into the ultra-gritty Orlando Salido, who just busted him up in two fights in 2011 and 2012. Lopez’s career never really recovered; he would go on fighting, but the book on him was written for other fighters, and they followed that blueprint. Lopez fought into 2019 and may or may not fight again, but after the second loss to Salido, he went just 5-4-1 in his next 10 fights. He was always dangerous but also incredibly vulnerable, and he lost his star power. Overall, Lopez currently stands at 39-6-1 (32 KO) with all six losses by stoppage.
Fierro, meanwhile, has just one loss, an eight-round majority decision against Alex Martin in Texas in Jan. 2020, and this is a huge breakthrough for him. He’s young enough to really put something together, and he’s obviously tough as hell and can be fun to watch. This is a kid that might bust out and make some good money.
- Joe Ward UD-6 Marco Delgado: This was a rematch from a 2019 fight that went wrong, when Ireland’s Ward (3-1, 2 KO) made his hyped pro debut against Delgado (7-2, 5 KO) and thrashed his own knee in the second round, unfortunately losing a TKO. He got back in the ring in December with a pair of wins in Mexico, and here rematched Delgado and took a clear win, 60-54 across the board, obviously winning all six rounds. Ward is 27 and obviously lost a lot of important time not just fighting but even training and everything. He’s clearly a well-schooled fighter, which the fearless and reckless Delgado isn’t, really, but you watch him and wonder what the ceiling really is. If he were 21, 22, maybe it’s different, but he’s right at the start of what should be his prime years already. But light heavyweight could use some new blood, and if Ward can get fast-tracked as we’re seeing from more and more experienced amateur fighters these days, he could be in there before he’s 30 while still having taken the proper steps.
- Alma Ibarra UD-8 Maricela Cornejo: A minor upset, perhaps. Ibarra (8-1, 4 KO) was just the better fighter. Cornejo (13-5, 5 KO) has had chances over the years, including two title fights at 168 with Franchon Crews-Dezurn, and one at 160 with Kali Reis back in 2016, but she’s lost all of those. She’s a marketable person in general — good look, good personality, and she fights hard, but Ibarra was better in the ring. Cornejo really tried as she usually does, but there were points she just didn’t look like she was mentally in it, trying to figure out, a lot of tactical mistakes. Scores were 77-75, 79-73, and 79-73. Our unofficial score was also 79-73 for Ibarra, with the 77-75 score that got Cornejo closest legitimately as close as you could have reasonably had it. Ibarra plans to go back down to 147 — this was fought at middleweight — and wants Jessica McCaskill. She’s got a remarkable personal story and was hugely emotional after this win.
- Jose Martinez D-10 Israel Gonzalez: You might remember Gonzalez (26-4-1, 11 KO) from a loss to Chocolatito Gonzalez last October. He was spirited then though he was a bit out of his depth, and he also has losses to Jerwin Ancajas and Kal Yafai over the years. BLH scored this one for him, 96-94, which is also what one of the judges had, but two had it 95-95 so it’s a majority draw, possibly a hair generous to Martinez (21-1-3, 14 KO), but it was a good fight, competitive enough that the draw isn’t any outrage. I did think Gonzalez had six rounds pretty solid, but there are much worse cards than 5-5 here. At times, Gonzalez’s hand speed was a bit too much for Martinez, but at times Martinez cut the ring off well and picked his spots to take some rounds. This was for the NABO bantamweight title, so I suppose they could rematch. Not sure what either of them are going to do otherwise that would be much better, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it on Ring City again.
- Angel Acosta UD-8 Gilberto Mendoza: Former 108-pound titlist Acosta was fighting at 115 here to get back in action, having not fought in over 500 days. He looked alright, got into his groove in the later rounds, including a seventh round knockdown of Mendoza (17-10-3, 2 KO), but Acosta (22-2, 21 KO) went the scheduled distance for just the second time in his career, and this was his first decision win as a pro, taking scores of 79-72 across the board. The plan for Acosta, 30, is to fight at flyweight as he gets serious again, this was a tune-up. But while he had some rust for sure, and Mendoza knows his way around the ring, he did flash a lot of his normal stuff, so a future at 115 doesn’t seem crazy or anything.
- Edwin Valentin TKO-5 Hector Marengo: This was really an RTD-4, as Marengo retired from the fight in his corner after the fourth round, but the referee and commission did it differently in Puerto Rico, giving him a 10 count he didn’t answer to start the fifth. But the fight round never actually began. It wasn’t really as dramatic as the commentary made out, it was just a guy quitting after a round, they just handled it differently in Salinas. No idea if that’s standard for PR boxing, honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen it before. Lightweight prospect Valentin (10-0, 9 KO) looked OK here, obviously beat the aged Marengo (7-15-4, 4 KO) up enough that the 37-year-old had enough for the night.
- Jose Roman UD-8 Roque Junco: Junco (10-8-1, 6 KO) was brought in from Argentina to give Roman (11-0, 5 KO) a win, and he managed that, but Roman never looked too great here. He did score what absolutely should have been a knockdown on an uppercut, but referee Melva Santos biffed the call. One judge seemed to ignore her no-knockdown call and scored it 80-71 anyway, and the other two had it 80-72. Roman is 27 and not really a prospect, but he’s out there.