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Rocky comes to life in So Cal: Cancio upsets Machado

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Few if any sports give you as many reasons to hate it as does boxing. The politics, the corruption the shit judging. The fighters not reaching their potential, the best not fighting the best, Floyd Mayweather…

And then there are guys like Andrew Cancio.

A solid professional out of Southern California, Cancio had wins over the likes of Rocky Juarez, tough as nails Rene Alvarado, and former two-time world champion Hugo Cazares. But after being thoroughly dominated by top contender Jo Jo Diaz in September 2016, Cancio briefly retired and began working full-time for a gas company operating a jack hammer in So Cal. Urged by his two young children, Cancio returned to boxing last year and shocked a young prospect out of Kazakhstan named Aidar Sharibayev, ending his hopes of becoming the next GGG.

With that win and a name in the region, the 19-4-2 Cancio was brought to the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, near his hometown of Blythe, California, where he had fought many times as a both an amateur and a pro to face Alberto Machado, the undefeated WBA 130 pound champion. A 5’10 bundle of speed and power known as ‘El Explosivo,’ an obvious homage to the former great champion from Nicaragua Alexis Arguello (YouTube the guy, you won’t be disappointed).

The Freddie Roach trained Machado was making the third defense of the title he’d won by knocking out the highly regarded Jezzrel Corrales in October 2017, and as one of the few Puerto Rican champions left in boxing, was thought to have the potential of being a huge draw.

Machado was of course a huge favorite going into the fight, with BetOnline.ag listing Cancio as +1000 underdog with other sites listing him as +1500 or even +1700. And in the first round last night on DAZN, you could see why. Machado came out circling and looking to land his jab, while Cancio came forward and looked for opening. Halfway into the round, a Machado combination ending a beautiful left uppercut dropped Cancio to the canvas. But Cancio was up at eight and even though Machado landed a few more combinations, the SoCal fighter was answering back and putting the pressure to end the round.

In the second round, Machado’s jab almost disappeared, and he allowed to Cancio to walk inside. Machado was landing combinations, but Cancio kept up the pressure and closed the second round strong, landing with both hands to the head and pecking with a right hand to the body. Then about forty-five seconds into the third round, Cancio clipped Machado with a left hook that stunned him and rocked the crowd to their feet. Instead of going crazy, Cancio showed veteran savvy, clinically cutting of the ring and find space to land combinations to the head and body. Machado was still landing, especially with an occasional right hook that swelled Cancio’s eye, but he was getting battered.

The champion tried to rediscover his jab in the fourth round, but Cancio refused to let Machado off the ropes. With the home crowd behind him, he continued to pepper him with combinations and then halfway through the round, Cancio landed a right hand to the body and Machado dropped to a knee. Machado beat the count by Cancio was right on him and dropped with two more right hands to the body. Machado rose up again, but Cancio landed a two-fisted attack to the body and Machado went down a third time and this time referee Raul Caiz Jr immediately stopped the bout at 2:16 of Round 4.

That is some straight up Rocky shit.

Machado (21-1, 17 KOs) was set as a potential tent pole for the DAZN network, but his relative lack of experience showed this night against Cancio, who despite on having only 26 fights as a pro, has been fighting top opposition for many years now. It also seems clear that ‘El Explosivo’ was having real trouble making up 130 pounds, and there is no better way to exploit that kind of weakness then going to the body. Cancio did just that.

While Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KOs) should now have some big fights against him, including what could be a solid money fight against the last man who defeated him, Jo Jo Diaz, he will be back at his job at the gas company this week. But don’t worry, as he told Beto Duran after the fight, he has Monday off.

Rocky shit indeed.

"Frank has been a wrestling fan since he was two years old. (Don't worry, he's got proof.) He's also a huge boxing and UFC fan and has a long standing love affair with Popeyes Chicken. He still owns a VHS copy of the first Ring of Honor show ever and was watching NXT before it was cool (or good). Bret Hart > Shawn Michaels. You can follow him on Twitter at @FightFanaticPod and on Tumblr at FrankTheFightFanatic." He's also starting his own podcast soon!

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