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High desert hero Andrew Cancio returns to ring for Rene Alvarado rematch Saturday

Written By | Nov 21, 2019
Andrew Cancio's confidence is a game changer for the WBA Super Featherweight champion going into his rematch with Rene Alvarado Saturday. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy Boxing Andrew Cancio returns

Andrew Cancio’s confidence is a game changer for the WBA Super Featherweight champion going into his rematch with Rene Alvarado Saturday. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy Boxing

INDIO, Calif., November 21, 2019 – WBA Super Featherweight champion Andrew Cancio shut down the doubters in June, proving his unexpected victory over Alberto Machado of Puerto Rico wasn’t a fluke. Cancio handed Machado an even more definitive loss with a third-round TKO.

Andrew Cancio returns to the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California for his 12th fight in the desert venue. Cancio (21-4-2, 16 KOs) of Blythe, California gets another rematch, this time with former foe Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado of Nicaragua (31-8, 20 KOs) on Saturday, November 21.

The rematch airs on DAZN beginning with undercard fights at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT, and the main event expected at approximately 11:30 pm ET/8:30 pm PT.

Cancio’s confidence fuels his power punching approach

Andrew Cancio works with longtime trainer Joseph "Hoss" Janik at Knuckleheadz Boxing in Ventura, California. Andrew Cancio's confidence is a game changer for the WBA Super Featherweight champion going into his rematch with Rene Alvarado Saturday. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy Boxing Andrew Cancio returns

Andrew Cancio works with longtime trainer Joseph “Hoss” Janik at Knuckleheadz Boxing in Ventura, California. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy Boxing

Cancio’s backstory has become a badge of honor he wears with pride. After a devastating loss to Joseph Diaz Jr. in 2016, Cancio retired. The single father’s son and daughter talked him into giving boxing another try.




But in the meantime, Cancio took a job maintaining natural gas lines for Southern California Gas in Ventura County, in large part to provide medical insurance for his children. He worked his training schedule around his brutally tough day job, getting up at 4:30 a.m. for road work, then putting in eight to ten hours on a jackhammer and shovel, then returning to the gym at night.

Cancio admitted it took him three months to get used to running the jackhammer. “It wiped me out,” said Cancio. Call it an unconventional strength and conditioning tool. Cancio has developed tremendous strength in his arms and back as a result and improved his stamina.

He quickly notched two wins upon his 2018 return and was then matched with the previously undefeated Machado. Cancio didn’t just win, he destroyed the previously undefeated Machado with a barrage of vicious body shots. Then he repeated the performance in even fewer rounds in the rematch.

Rene Alvarado scored seven straight wins including a knockout over Carlos Morales to earn his rematch against Andrew Cancio. Photo: Derrick Hogan, Hogan Photos

Rene Alvarado scored seven straight wins including a knockout over Carlos Morales to earn his rematch against Andrew Cancio. Photo: Derrick Hogan, Hogan Photos

Alvarado has reeled off seven straight victories on his road back from a loss to Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2017 that knocked him back down the rankings. He’s been used as a gatekeeper and ground up by journeymen opponents in Nicaragua. He won a questionable majority decision over a tough Denis Shafikov due to a knockdown call, which was clearly a trip. Finally, Alvarado’s patience has paid off with Saturday’s opportunity.

“Nicaragua is known for its great world champions, and I’m one step away from becoming one,” Alvarado said. “I’m coming for the victory against Andrew Cancio on Nov. 23. We know each other very well, and it’s going to be a war.”

After becoming a world champion, Cancio’s high desert hometown of Blythe threw him a parade and gave him the key to the city. Even though his purse for the rematch doubled, he’s still working a full-time job with SoCal Gas. The company remains supportive of their employee, cutting him a little more slack to help him balance the demands of the ring and the job.

“They (SoCalGas Company) are helping me out more now as a champion. I don’t have any more time on my book to take days off, but you can take days off without pay, though it’s up to the supervisor’s discretion.” On the day of Cancio’s media workout, .he was willing to work a half-day and then make the drive to the gym, but his supervisors covered for him. “I didn’t want to be late, so they help me out in that aspect, but I still have to work like everyone else.” Well, not exactly everyone, Andrew.



Why doesn’t he quit? Fame can be fleeting in boxing. Besides, working the jackhammer daily is part of Cancio’s unique boxing mystique, and there’s not much doubt it helped him build up his impressive power. Cancio says his improved power, stamina, and speed will surprise his old foe Alvarado, who he beat by eighth-round TKO in 2015.

“I love the combinations my coaches are working on with me, and I feel that’s what is going to be the difference in this fight,” said Cancio. “I think it’s going to be easier for me, just because the first time we faced off, I would only throw one or two punches at a time. Now it’s going to be four or six punches at a time. I’m also using my jab and head movement more now.”

Cancio says he is also stopping opponents more regularly now. “I’ve been learning more and more as each day goes by in the gym. I’m getting more accustomed to my coach’s styles and their philosophies on how to do things, and I think Rene is going to see that difference.”

Preview: Cancio’s second victory won’t be a surprise

The hardest working man in boxing should successfully defend his title on Saturday. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy Boxing

The hardest working man in boxing should successfully defend his title on Saturday. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy Boxing

Cancio’s newly impressive bodywork should be the key to victory against Alvarado. “I like throwing body shots. My combinations include body shots, and I think that’s going to be the key. It was the key with Alberto Machado, and think it’s going to be the key to beating Rene Alvarado.

“Rene Alvarado already knows that I hit hard. He felt it our first fight. I think psychologically, he saw how I destroyed Machado. He shouldn’t expect any less from me on fight night,’ said Cancio.

Just as with his successful rematch victory over Machado in June, Cancio’s improved power and confidence shouldn’t allow Alvarado to gain a foothold. Alvarado has worked extremely hard to get another shot at Cancio. He won’t fold easily, but he will be facing a far better version of a man who beat him handily the first time. We called a ninth-round TKO for Cancio against Machado, and he did it in four rounds. So we’ll amend our prediction this time and call a sixth-round TKO for Cancio over Alvarado.

Then he can enjoy his favorite IPA craft beer and a good meal as a reward, then head back to work at SoCal Gas on Monday. Because if it ain’t broke — you know the rest.

Undercard cheat sheet: Can Xu vs Manny Robles III, Rashidi Ellis vs Eddie Gomez

In the co-main event, Xu Can of China (17-2, 3 KOs) faces Manny Robles III of Los Angeles (18-0. 8 KOs), with the WBA World (regular) Featherweight title at stake. It’s Xu’s third fight in the U.S.; both his losses were narrow decisions early in his career. Robles, trained by his father who also currently trains heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz, Jr., has successfully navigated increasingly challenging opponents over the past two years. After a four-fight knockout string, Robles has won two close decisions. But Xu Can doesn’t present any power punching threat, so Robles should win and look good doing it, sending Dad off to Saudi Arabia with a win.

Welterweight Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis of Lynn, Massachusetts  (21-0, 14 KOs)  returns after a year out of the ring against Eddie Gomez of the Bronx (23-3, 13 KOs). This is a rematch of Ellis’s one-round knockout of Gomez in 2016. Respect to Gomez for taking another shot at it but the outcome isn’t likely to change, other than taking longer to get there.

Also on the card:

Baishanbo Nasiyiwula of Urumqi, China (15-3-1, 6 KOs) vs. Saul Corral (31-14, 20 KOs) of Arizona, junior welterweights, ten rounds

Victor Morales Jr. of Vancouver, Washington (12-0, 7 KOs) vs.Diuhl Olguin of Mexico (14-12, 6 KOs), featherweights, eight rounds

Alberto Melian of Buenos Aires, Argentina (5-1, 3 KOs) vs. Juan Kantun of Merida, Mexico (21-8-3, 15 KOs), junior featherweights, eight rounds

Alex Rincon of Dallas, Texas (7-0, 6 KOs) vs. Rafael Garcia of Tucson, Arizona (9-3, 6 KOs), junior middleweights, six rounds

Tickets for the event are on sale and are priced at $35, $45 and $55. Tickets will be available at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino box office, by calling 1-800-827-2946, or by purchasing online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

READ MORE: Desert deja vu: Andrew Cancio wins rematch with Alberto Machado

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

Copyright © 2019 by Falcon Valley Group

 

 

Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.