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Cancio to defend title in rematch with Machado

Andrew Cancio’s knockout of Alberto Machado to win a junior lightweight world title will go down as one of the upsets of the year, but Machado will have a chance to avenge the defeat.

Cancio will make the first defense of his 130-pound belt in a rematch with Machado, who had the contractual right to one, on June 21 (DAZN) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, the same site as their initial encounter, Golden Boy Promotions announced on Friday.

“Andrew Cancio surprised the world when he dominated Alberto Machado in their first fight,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. “This was his toughest fight on paper, and he never looked better. This fight is a rematch, and Cancio is going to prove to himself that he can do it again.”

Machado was making his third title defense and was a huge favorite to beat Cancio when they met on Feb. 9 but Cancio, who had retired for 19 months after a ninth-round knockout loss to Joseph Diaz in September 2016, pulled a huge upset by knocking Machado out in the fourth round. Not bad for a guy who was holding down a day job at a gas company.

Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KOs), 30, of Blythe, California, said he has no problem facing Machado for a second time and that he expects the same result.

“I’m very excited to be defending my world title against Alberto Machado in the rematch from my knockout victory,” Cancio said. “This is my 11th time fighting at Fantasy Springs Casino, and I look forward to defeating Machado again in convincing fashion in front of another huge crowd of my fans.”

Machado (21-1, 17 KOs), 28, a southpaw from Puerto Rico, struggled severely to make weight for the fight and although he dropped Cancio in the first round, Cancio stormed back for three knockdowns in the fourth round to win.

Machado thought about forgoing the rematch and moving up in weight but ultimately decided to try to regain his belt.

“June 21 is a great opportunity for me,” Machado said. “Besides recovering my place as a world champion, a victory will have a special meaning for me, and that makes me very motivated. I hope that Cancio is enjoying his time as a champion because I’m going with bad intentions to bring that championship belt back to Puerto Rico.”

Said Hector Soto, vice president of Miguel Cotto Promotions, Machado’s co-promoter: “It will be a classic war of unfinished business. In the first fight, Cancio went toe-to-toe with Machado and took him out. But on June 21, the story will be different.”

In a second world-title bout on the card, Angel “Tito” Acosta (20-1, 20 KOs), 28, of Puerto Rico, will defend his junior flyweight belt for the fourth time. He will face an opponent to be determined.

Also on the card, former three-division world titlist Jorge Linares (45-5, 28 KOs), 33, a Venezuela native fighting out of Las Vegas, will face an opponent to be determined in a 10-round junior welterweight bout. Linares, who has won world titles at featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight, is looking to bounce back from a shocking first-round knockout loss to Pablo Cesar Cano in a junior welterweight bout on Jan. 18.

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team