By Keith Idec
Your guess is as good as Alberto Machado’s.
The WBA hasn’t given the unbeaten Puerto Rican champion what he considers a reasonable explanation as for why that sanctioning organization gave Gervonta Davis its “super” super featherweight championship for his win over Jesus Cuellar six months ago. Machado knocked out Jezreel Corrales a year ago to win the WBA’s “super” 130-pound championship in Verona, New York.
That meant Machado was the WBA’s true champion at 130 pounds. The WBA didn’t recognize a 130-pound “world” champion at the time Machado beat Corrales, but it made Machado its world champion in its November rankings last year, its first ratings after Machado conquered Corrales last October 21.
Once the WBA designated Machado as its “world” 130-pound champion, there seemingly was no reason for it to later declare a “super” champion in that division. The WBA still sanctioned Davis-Cuellar as a fight for its “super” featherweight title.
Baltimore’s Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) won that April 21 bout by third-round technical knockout against Argentina’s Cuellar (28-3, 21 KOs). Now Davis, without having defeated Machado, owns the “super” championship Machado believed he had won from Corrales.
The 28-year-old Machado (20-0, 16 KOs) will make the second defense of his title Saturday night. He’ll face Cleveland’s Yuandale Evans (20-1, 14 KOs) in a fight HBO will air as part of the Daniel Jacobs-Sergiy Derevyanchenko undercard from The Theater at Madison Square Garden (10 p.m. ET/PT).
“I want to congratulate Gervonta because he deserves it,” Machado said Monday through a translator on a conference call. “But everyone knows in boxing that I am the real world champion, of the WBA, in the super featherweight division. I dethroned the champion at that moment, who was Jezreel Corrales, a year ago. And everyone knows all the sacrifices that I have been through. So what happened with the WBA, they [would] know. But I know and everyone knows that I am the true world champion.”
Panama’s Corrales (22-2, 8 KOs, 1 NC) didn’t make weight the day before Machado knocked him out in the eighth round. Thus Machado technically won a vacant title because Corrales was stripped for failing to weigh in at or below the 130-pound limit for their scheduled 12-round bout.
The WBA later explained that Machado actually won its “world” championship by beating Corrales, who was its “super” champion the day he was stripped. That still doesn’t justify creating another “super” champion from the outcome of a Davis-Cuellar fight that didn’t include a boxer that already owned a WBA “world” title.
Davis was not even ranked in the WBA’s top 15 at the time Machado defeated Corrales. Cuellar, who hadn’t boxed since losing a WBA “world” featherweight title fight to Abner Mares by split decision in December 2016, somehow was ranked No. 1 among the WBA’s 130-pound contenders at the time Machado and Corrales fought.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.