By David Robinett at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada
In one of the most stirring performances ever at Fantasy Springs, local underdog Andrew Cancio overcame a bad knockdown in the opening round to shockingly knock out undefeated WBA super featherweight champion Alberto Machado at 2:16 of the fourth round in a scheduled twelve round title bout.
Machado (21-1, 17 KOs), nicknamed “El Explosivo,” lived up to his moniker early on, dropping Cancio with a big left hook to the body that looked like it might keep Cancio down for the count. Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KOs) rose off the canvas but didn’t appear to be taking Machado’s power well. Round two however was a good bounce back round for Cancio, as he took the fight to Machado and kept the champion on his heels, consistently coming forward and landing several clean shots on Machado’s head as he tried to cover up.
It became evident in round three that Cancio had done more than just buy some time, as Machado never adjusted to Cancio’s pressure, continuing to back away from Cancio and take clean shots to the head without countering with anything in response.
In round four Machado tried to get back to boxing from the center of the ring to keep Cancio off of him, but a combination to the body dropped Machado for the first time. Machado beat the count but appeared seriously hurt, and went down again with the first punch to the body after action resumed, a right hook from Cancio. Machado rose at nine and a half and was allowed to continue, but Cancio came swinging right away for the body once again, and Machado went down moments later for the third and final time, with the referee waving the fight over before issuing a count.
The packed crowd erupted in a standing ovation as Cancio jumped onto the corner rope in jubilation in one of the most exciting scenes in the history of this venue. The crowd continued to buzz for several minutes afterward as the local hero from the nearby desert community of Blythe suddenly joined the ranks of boxing’s titleholders and possibly a future star if he’s able to duplicate the drama of this victory on bigger stages going forward.