By Jake Donovan
Alberto Machado wasn’t ready to hit the panic button in the wake of his first career defeat.
His title reign-ending knockout loss to Andrew Cancio this past February still ranks among the biggest upsets of a year loaded with surprises. The only thing that will surprise Puerto Rico’s Machado is if this same thing occurs in their rematch this weekend.
“There’s nothing to (prove) in this fight,” Machado (21-1, 17KOs) claimed during a recent media conference call in response to concerns that he wasn’t as good as advertised during his 16-month super featherweight title reign. “I am feeling strong, ready to win this fight and beat Cancio convincingly.”
The rematch comes under the same settings as the first fight, streaming live on DAZN this Friday from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. Machado was attempting the 3rd defense of the 130-pound title he claimed in a knockout win over Jezreel Corrales in Oct. 2017 and appeared well on his way to getting rid of Cancio (20-4-2, 15KOs), who was floored in the opening round and looking every bit the massive underdog.
It was as good as it was going to get for Machado, however. Once the bell sounded to begin round two, the 5’10” super featherweight felt depleted and became a sitting duck for the resurgent Cancio, a full-time construction technician whose eventual triumph capped the ultimate feel-good story that has since surrounded his career.
Machado’s team began eyeing plans for a run in the 135-pound division, but the boxer wasn’t having any of it. He sought the necessary medical advice to determine the best course of action for his long frame to safely make the 130-pound limit and insists a return of the version previously viewed as the division’s very best.
“June 21st will be different,” assures Machado. “I’m training with that in mind, to walk away with victory and my title.”
Other than a change in diet, everything else remains intact. The same team that helped him get to this point is still along for the ride, one which he views as the next step in normal career progression for boxers who aren’t fortunate enough to remain undefeated.
“This is just a process,” Machado believes. “I felt motivated from becoming a prospect to a contender, then from a contender to a world champion. Now, I’m entering the fight knowing that a win will make me a two-time world champion. It’s very motivating.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox