Angel Fierro gets the comeback knockout victory over former WBA regular champion Alberto Machado!
Former WBA regular junior lightweight champion Alberto “El Explosivo” Machado fell from grace just as fast as he arrived! The now WBO #12 and WBA #13 ranked contender will look to continue to patch up the leaks in his career when he takes on unranked late replacement Angel Fierro. 19-0 prospect Hector Tanajara was the initial opponent but the 24 year-old from San Antonio, TX had to withdraw due to injury.
In 2017, then holding the NABA title and ranked #4 by the WBA, Machado served as a late replacement opponent for WBA super champion Jezzrel Corrales. Many didn’t know who Machado was. Much less did they give him a chance against Corrales who made his mark by beating up long reigning WBA champion and arguably a lower-tier pound-for-pound fighter Takashi Uchiyama twice in 2016.
Due to not making weight, Corrales would end up being stripped of his super title. As a result, Machado would be the only one with a chance to take home a title. Problem was, it would only be the regular title. The vacant super title was on “reserve” for then IBF champion, Gervonta Davis to pick up. Regardless, this did not deter El Explosivo from splashing on the scene with a statement! After being down on the cards and tasting canvas in the fifth round, Machado avoided an eventual loss by stopping Corrales via a close-range straight left hand.
As the regular champion, he went on to make two defenses and really became a wildcard in the division. However, two shocking defeats back-to-back by knockout to the unheralded Andrew Cancio virtually made the former champion a non-factor!
Unfortunately for him, another setback was on the horizon!
RESPECT MY POWER
The former champion is known to take his opponents out early which means he typically starts fast. However early in this fight, his attack from the southpaw stance was more methodical. In his two loses to Cancio, he was mauled early because he wasn’t careful. Fierro has the same base style and packs power in both punches. Therefore, pacing himself was the smart move and it paid off!
In the middle of the opening round, the underdog moved forward attempting to apply pressure to the former champion. As he threw a right hook, El Explosivo stepped back and landed a counter right hook of his own. The late replacement went down only for the second time of his career! He made the count before the referee reached eight and you got the feeling this fight was not over yet as he did not seem very hurt, just caught off guard.
Given “coming forward” is the only way Fierro knows how to fight, don’t expect much of a lesson to be learned from the first knockdown. In the second round, he would be hit with the same punch in the same scenario. Moving forward, attempting to position himself to land a right hook but Machado’s hook landed first. Again Fierro would beat the count before the eight but it was clear he needed to make the adjustment.
I’M AWAKE NOW
At the start of the fourth round, it seemed Machado was on his way to another knockout victory. But something seemed to click for Fierro at the right time! Machado seemed to be complacent after easily dominating the first three rounds that he no longer felt he needed to be cautious. Instead of boxing from the outside, he was now coming forward. This of course is the kind of fight Fierro wanted!
The underdog was in full attack mode! Although he never adjusted to defending against the counter right hook, his best defense is his offense. Furthermore, Machado was now giving him the opportunity to get back into the fight. Since El Explosivo would be directly in front of him, Fierro kept throwing and never stopped. The game-plan smothered Machado who could not understand how his opponent was not fighting carefully himself.
After getting bullied for the entire fourth round capped off by taking a flurry of shots to the face at the end of the round, it looked like Machado had lost complete control of the fight in just one round! In addition, he had that same look of defeat on his face as he did in previous rounds before getting stopped by Cancio!
GET HIM OUTTA THERE
Fierro seemed to be a fighter possessed in the fifth round. Meanwhile, Machado seemed to be shell-shocked by the heart and determination of his late replacement. With no thoughts of making adjustments, the former champion continued to get bullied all around the ring. He absolutely no longer had the ability to keep Fierro at bay!
Then midway into the round and while in retreat, Machado drops his right hand only to eat a strong left hook. The former champion went down under the ropes! As the referee got to the count of seven, Machado was still in the same position he fell to the canvas in. He was not getting up!
The unknown Fierro went to Puerto Rico as the late replacement and knocked out a former champion who was ranked in two major sanctioning bodies! In the post fight interview, he mentioned the motivation for his comeback was his corner reminding him to “remember his daughter”. Whether that was what contributed to his comeback or not, Fierro just splashed on the scene in defeating a fighter in the same manner he became known for; a comeback knockout victory for the underdog!
By: EJ Williams