Andrew Cancio lost his WBA junior lightweight title via TKO to Renee Alvarado on Saturday night. By Monday morning, he lost his promotional deal with Golden Boy as well when the company released the fighter from his contract. 

Immediately before his fight against Alvarado, Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KOs) made disparaging remarks about Golden Boy to the Los Angeles Times about how his career and promotion was being handled by Oscar De La Hoya and company following his Cinderella story of winning the title against heavy favorite Alberto Machado in February, and defending it successfully again against Machado in June.

Cancio felt that his blue-collared image of balancing a backbreaking, full-time job as a construction technician at the Southern California Gas Co. — as well as being a champion — should have been promoted better in bigger venues, while making him more money along the way.

Instead, Golden Boy opted to further take no part in that narrative and released Cancio three days before Thanksgiving. 

“The whole situation is f---ed up. I’m already down on myself for the way I lost my belt, and now, it’s like ‘let’s just put this on you,’” Cancio told BoxingScene.com in an interview Tuesday. “It’s unfortunate how it all happened. I wanted a rematch with Alvarado, and they didn’t want to give me one.

“My whole career I’ve been at Fantasy Springs [in Indio, Calif.]. Don’t get me wrong, I love it there, but I wanted to move around and get promoted better to build up my fan base and build more exposure. That’s how I felt, and I still feel that way. Ryan Garcia beat Golden Boy up a lot worse than what I did. I just said the truth, but they signed Ryan to a big contract, and paid him more money than they paid me.”

Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz called Cancio’s manager Ray Chaparro on Sunday and said they were considering cutting Cancio after learning about his comments. Chapparo said Diaz told him that Cancio is an ungrateful fighter who didn’t deserve the benefit of having the rematch against Alvarado, and that if he had his vote, Cancio would be cut immediately. By Monday, it became official, and Cancio was ousted.

"We wish Andrew all the very best of luck and hope he can find what he was missing here at Golden Boy with bigger money and bigger venues,” said Diaz.

Chaparro called the sudden turn events a sad situation.

“I was like, ‘wow!’ I was very surprised. They used Andrew as an example, and it goes against everything they’ve ever said about not taking it personal,” Chaparro told BoxingScene.com in an interview Tuesday. “I’m really good friends with [Golden Boy CEO] Eric Gomez and Robert, but I lost respect for the company. They taught me to never take things personal on the business side, but yet they took Andrew’s statements of wanting more money and bigger venues and they took it and twisted it into ‘you’re done.’ Robert told me, ‘we’re tired of fighters talking about us. We’re going to take a stand and release Andrew.’”

Chapparo said that after Cancio beat Machado in the rematch this June, Diaz told Cancio he would be the co-feature to Canelo Alvarez’s fight against Sergey Kovalev on  Nov. 2. Soon after, Garcia ripped Golden Boy during the summer in an ugly, public spat, only to then renegotiate a lucrative contract extension. The series of events forced Golden Boy to cater to Garcia’s demands and leave Cancio out in the proverbial cold.

“Andrew was excited to fight on the Canelo undercard, and when Ryan pitched a fit, Golden Boy yanked Andrew and put him in Fantasy Springs again. Robert won’t tell anyone he promised Andrew the Canelo undercard. Eric told me Canelo made that request [to have Garcia as the undercard]. Now we understand who runs their business. It's hard to respect a promotional company that allows for that to happen, letting Canelo and Ryan beat them up, only to then pacify them. Andrew requested bigger venues and a little bit more money and got dismissed over a loss. Getting cut had nothing to do with his loss. It just sealed it. If he would’ve won, we would have had to figure out something.”

Chapparo said the vibes and energy he was getting during fight week from Golden Boy was a bad one regarding Cancio’s critical comments, and it ultimately carried into the ring with Andrew and affected his concentration.

“The focus turned away, and it turned Andrew into, ‘oh my god. Is Golden Boy looking for me to fail? Did Roberto signal to the referee to stop the fight?’ Sometimes fighters have crazy thoughts. He was just out of it, and had a bad night.”

Trainer Joseph Janik said Cancio’s fight Saturday was one of those nights where his fighter was off. After the first round, Cancio felt that he was two steps behind, thus forcing a switch to the game plan.

“Golden Boy gave us an opportunity when nobody was really interested in Andrew,” Janik told BoxingScene.com. “He got a title shot against Machado because they thought we were the easiest mark on the list, and he shocked the world. I always try to look for the good in things. There was more money out there that Andrew could have made, but Golden Boy is known for being thrifty. I can’t fault them too much. But losing and then getting cut 48 hours later on Thanksgiving week, it’s harsh, but it’s business. Andrew was faulted for being honest and complaining about his employer.”

Chapparo was appreciative of the opportunity Golden Boy provided but ultimately wants Cancio to stick it to them by reviving his career again and accomplishing his goals with a new promoter. 

“It’s because of Golden Boy that Andrew became a champion,” said Chapparo. “There is nothing wrong with what Andrew was asking for. For Golden Boy to take it personal and counterpunch Andrew back tells me how they run their business. It’s a kick in the nuts. We have to shake it off and move forward. Andrew has his head up and will prove that Golden Boy made a mistake. He’s relieved because he felt that he was going to get screwed as long as he stuck with them. Losing the fight hurt Andrew more than being released.”

Cancio will continue to work long, hard hours at the gas company and is looking forward to the new chapter of his career. 

“I’m not done — far from it. This isn’t the end of my career. I just have to go look for a different promoter now,” said Cancio. “Whichever promoter takes a chance on me, they won’t regret it. I’ll be back stronger. I’m not a fluke world champion. As long as they take care of me, I’ll take care of them. I’ll do my job in the ring and let them do theirs outside of it.

“I will regroup and live to fight another day, and go back to the drawing board. My team will stay the same, and now hopefully, I can fight in different venues.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk.akopyan@gmail.com.