By Jake Donovan
Andrew Cancio was overlooked by most in the industry—and possibly even his opponent in the ring—ahead of his first fight with Alberto Machado earlier this year. He certainly doesn’t want to make that mistake ahead of their rematch, but also has designs on further proving his worth atop the super featherweight division.
“I would love to go after the other world champions in the future,” acknowledged Cancio (20-4-2, 15KOs) during a recent media conference call to discuss his next order of business.
Before entertaining unification bouts, the working-class hero of Blythe, Calif. will first proceed with a rematch versus Puerto Rico’s Machado (21-1, 17KOs), which will take place June 21 live on DAZN from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif.
The intimate boxing hotspot hosted their first fight this past February, which saw Cancio rise from the canvas to drop and eventually stop previously unbeaten titlist Machado in the 4th round to complete a huge upset in a year already filled with them.
With the win came a secondary version of the World Boxing Association (WBA) 130-pound title. Due to a technicality, Machado’s own win over “Super” champion Jezreel Corrales in Oct. 2017 was downgraded to “Regular” title status when Corrales failed to make weight and thus was stripped of the title at the scales.
The “Super” title has since landed in the hands of Gervonta Davis following his early knockout of former featherweight titlist Jesus Cuellar last April. In beating Machado earlier this year, Cancio realized his dream of becoming a major titlist although functionally serves as the mandatory challenger to Davis’ upgraded version of the crown.
In any other domain, bringing forth clarity would be as simple as enforcing the rules in place. Not so for boxing, where different versions of the same title continue to co-exist. Davis’ lone title defense of his second reign came earlier this February, scoring a 1st round knockout of Hugo Ruiz, a former 122-pound titlist who just moved up to featherweight for a fight three weeks pior before stepping in as a late replacement for an injured Abner Mares.
Next up for the unbeaten Baltimore (Md.) native is an actual mandatory defense versus Panama’s Ricardo Nuñez, who steps way up in class for their July 27 Showtime-televised clash in Davis’ hometown.
Given how the southpaw has been matched since winning his first title–in a standout knockout win over then-unbeaten Jose Pedraza in Jan. 2017—Cancio isn’t holding his breath nor wasting his energy in waiting on his turn anytime soon.
“I think Gervonta Davis needs to step out of his shell and fight real opposition,” Cancio said of his divisional rival. “Yes, I would love to fight him. But Machado was undefeated and fought (the top guy) to win this world title. So as far as I’m concerned, I beat the real champ to win my title.”
As for actual next steps should he repeat versus Machado, the resurgent titlist has another sequel in mind—since, after all, it’s in line with the WBA somehow assigning two mandatory challengers to its two titlists.
“Rene Alvarado is the mandatory to this (version of the) title and I know he’s patiently waiting. If I were to come out victorious, I would like to give him the opportunity for a world title,” Cancio said of the Nicaraguan contender, whom he stopped in the 8th round of a Dec. 2015 thriller also at Fantasy Springs. “We had a great fight and he’s been on a nice win streak (seven wins in a row since a Mar. 2017 loss to former featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa), so I feel like it’s only right to give him the opportunity to win the world title.
“After that, I would love to go after all the world champions.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox