INDIO, Calif., November 23, 2019 – As famed countryman and former champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and twin brother Felix cheered him on, Rene “Camelo” Alvarado of Nicaragua turned the tables on Andrew “El Chango” Cancio of Blythe, winning the WBA Super Featherweight title in a brutal seventh-round TKO win.
“It’s a feeling very hard to describe. It’s something I’ve wanted ever since I started my career, and now Nicaragua has another world champion, twin brothers,” said Alvarado.
Rene Alvarado wins the title on the same date the legendary Nicaraguan champion Alexis Arguello won his first title 45 years ago. “My objective was to make sure I became a world champion on this very important day, the 23rd of November, when 45 years ago Alexis Arguello became a world champion for the first time. And now for the first time, we have two world champions who are twin brothers from Nicaragua,” said Alvarado. His brother Felix is the current IBF World Light Flyweight champion.
Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KOs) gave his former foe and mandatory challenger Alvarado (32-8, 21 KOs) all the credit for the win in a rematch of their 2016 fight in the same arena. “Rene fought a hell of a fight tonight. I was two steps behind him,” said Cancio. “He fought his fight tonight, and he got his revenge in the rematch …There’s nothing I can say besides congratulations to him, and enjoy this, I know how it feels.”
Alvarado’s perfect game plan pays off
Alvarado came at Cancio from the opening bell, and never stopped moving. He fired clean, crisp shots. His straight right caught Cancio looking repeatedly. Cancio’s timing seemed just a fraction too slow to catch Alvarado. The Nicaraguan worked at distance perfectly to stay clear of Cancio’s worst intentions.
After three rounds of getting worked, Cancio threw his game plan out the window and engaged in an all-out firefight with Alvarado. It thrilled the Fantasy Springs crowd, but it only dug Cancio’s hole deeper. He suffered a cut over the left eye courtesy an Alvarado right hook. His burgeoning confidence after winning two brilliant fights over former champion Alberto Machado began to dissolve. Cancio told trainer Joseph Janik he was OK, but it was his heart speaking, not his head.
Before the seventh round, Janik told Cancio he would give him one more round to “show me something,” or he would stop the fight, and Janik told referee Raul Caiz Sr. as well. Cancio tried to dig deep, but Alvarado was on cruise control, having one of those perfect performances a fighter dreams about. He was firing on all cylinders, hitting Cancio with too many unanswered punches. Janik and Caiz Sr. did the right thing and stopped the fight, giving Alvarado the TKO victory.
“We were looking for new opportunities, not necessarily to avenge a loss, but opportunities to become a world champion. And that’s what we did,” said Alvarado. “Cancio’s going to come back from this, but we fought our hearts out and it was a tough fight.”
Rene Alvarado credited his team with the perfect game plan. “It was a plan to start dominating from the very beginning of the fight. That was the plan, by Sergio Gonzalez, my trainer, and my corner including my brother, who’s also a world champion with me now.”
Cancio: ‘Tonight wasn’t my night’
Cancio struggled to explain what had happened. “I have no idea,” he admitted. “We felt great throughout camp. I kept trying, but tonight was his night. He got off very well. I got hit with too many shots. There’s no excuse about it, and the better man won tonight. It’s well-deserved, he fought a tremendous fight.
“Now we just have to go back to the drawing board, and I have to talk it over with my team. Tonight, wasn’t my night but it is what it is. I have to take this loss as a champion and just go back home and regroup and see what we have to do,” said Cancio, who also thanked promoter Oscar De La Hoya for giving him the opportunity and getting him this far.
Rene Alvarado’s patience paid off and he made the most of his opportunity, just as Cancio did a year ago. Now he has options open to him. Cancio will have to determine how he fights his way back, but he’s shown he isn’t afraid of hard work. He’ll be back at his day job for Southern California Gas next week. No time to feel sorry for yourself when you have people counting on you. We just hope Cancio still rewards his effort with his favorite indulgence, an IPA craft beer – or two. Cheers, El Chango, you earned it.
Chinese fans cheer champion Xu Can on to victory over Manny Robles III
Hundreds of Chinese fans stomped on the bleachers, waving bright red banners and flags in support of WBA Featherweight champion Xu Can of Kumming, China from start to finish during his 12-round fight against undefeated opponent Manny Robles III of Los Angeles.
Xu Can (17-3, 3 KOs) rewarded them with an assertive, energetic unanimous decision victory over Robles (18-1, 8 KOs), handing the promising young prospect his first loss. Scores were 120-109, 119-111, and 118-110.
Yes, it was that dominant of a performance. What Xu Can might lack in sheer power, he makes up for it in relentless attack, using a varied punch selection delivered with good speed. He’s a fighter who won’t let an opponent take a breath. Xu Can backs it up with solid fundamentals honed during an excellent amateur career. Robles couldn’t begin to match the punch output of Xu Can, and he didn’t have enough power to neutralize the attack.
“We worked very hard in camp, three months for this fight,” said Xu Can. “We wanted to show everybody in the world.” Asked who he’d like to fight, Xu Can didn’t hesitate, saying in English, “You come here, I’m here, let’s fight. Josh Warrington, let’s fight!” saying he’d be happy to fight anywhere. “I promise I will bring the belt back home to China.”
Robles can use the loss as a learning experience to improve and drive his career forward, and he should look at it as an opportunity.
There was a single knockdown in the fight. Xu dropped referee Eddie Hernandez with a right hand in the first round. Hernandez hit Robles, sending him backward into Hernandez who was positioned too close behind Robles, and he lost his balance, hitting the canvas with a. thump. Hernandez popped right back up with a rueful smile on his face. Only his pride hurt, nothing more.
Rashidi Ellis defeats Eddie Gomez in grudge rematch
For three years, Eddie Gomez of Bronx, New York (23-4, 13 KOs) has asked for a rematch with Rashidi Ellis of Boston (22-0, 14 KOs) after a first-round knockout loss in December 2016 at Fantasy Springs. The pair finally met again and while Gomez lost a lopsided decision to Ellis, call it a moral victory for lasting 10 rounds without being seriously hurt. Scores were 100-90, and 99-91 X 2.
Even though Ellis had been out of the ring for a year and took some time warming up, he handled everything Gomez threw at him, including some wild punching in clinches and a well-aimed headbutt or three. Ellis takes home the vacant WBA Continentals Americas welterweight title. With the rust off, Ellis needs to get busy in 2020 if he wants to join the top tier of the competitive welterweight division.
Undercard results: Morales Jr., Melian, Nasiyiwula win
In the DAZN opener, featherweight Victor Morales, Jr. of Vancouver, Washington (13-0, 7 KOs) had to work hard to remain undefeated with a unanimous decision over Diuhl Olguin of Guadalajara, Mexico (14-13-3, 9 KOs). Scores were 80 – 72 on all three cards, but they don’t tell the story of the action. Olguin stepped in as a replacement earlier in the week, and even he acknowledges his status as the journeyman who tests young talent like Morales. But Olguin did a solid job, hitting Morales Jr. with plenty of solid shots, especially hard left hooks in the sixth and eighth rounds which we scored in his favor. Morales Jr. put himself in the line of fire several times. He takes a punch well, but he might not be so lucky the next time.
Alberto Melian of Buenos Aires, Argentina (6-1, 4 KOs) plowed right through Juan Kantun of Phoenix (21-9-3, 15 KOs) in their super bantamweight fight, winning with a second-round stoppage. Melian had Kantun buzzed in the first round, and the second round was merely a formality.
“There was a moment I didn’t feel his punches and I felt strong,” said Melian. “That’s when I knew I had to step it up.” Melian is a lively fighter who enjoys himself and presents an entertaining personality in and out of the ring. “I would like to face Joshua Franco and any other regional title holder, but I’ll leave that to Roberto Diaz and my promoter,” added Melian.
The opening bout started the night off right for hundreds of Chinese fans who made the trip to Indio. Welterweight Baishanbo Nasiyiwula of Urumqi, China (16-3-1, 6 KOs) scored a unanimous decision victory over Saul Corral of Mexico (30-15, 20 KOs). Scores were 80-72 on all three cards. “The Destroyer” has a solid body attack, but Corral is sturdy and refused to stop short of the final bell. “Before I got into the ring, I was nervous,” said Nasiyiwula.“It’s my first time fighting on Golden Boy and DAZN. But I feel better now. My goal now is to be back in the WBA rankings and challenge for a world title.”
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.
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