On Nov. 23, Blythe native and hometown boxer Andrew “El Chango” Cancio (21-5-2) was defeated by newly crowned WBA (World Boxing Association) super featherweight (130-lbs.) champion Rene Alvarado (32-8) via referee technical decision following round seven in the pair’s title bout at the Indio Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino.
A Managua, Nicaragua, native, 30-year-old Alvarado came into the bout as a formidable challenger buoyed by the 45th anniversary of his country’s national hero – Alexis “El Caballero del Ring” Argüello – winning the Central American republic’s first world title in 1974.
For Cancio, the match served as an opportunity to remind both fans and promoter Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya of the marquee action-packed skills “El Chango” brings to the ring.
The first round found Cancio working to establish a jab, but Alvarado looking to counter. Midway through the first, Alvarado caught Cancio with a couple of big rights and combinations.
The second stanza saw Alvarado continuing to send combos Cancio’s way, ripping hooks and landing upper-cuts on Cancio. The Nicaraguan also got the better of the close-quarter boxing, continuing to batter a game “El Chango” throughout.
Airing over the online sports streaming service DAZN, spectators continued to see Alvarado punishing Cancio in the bruising pugilist affair – a rematch from November 2015 which Cancio won via stoppage.
As noted by commentators, that first meeting between the two was the only time Alvarado had ever been stopped in his career.
In the third, Alvarado continued fighting well in close, countering Cancio and getting the better of exchanges. Despite Cancio landing with one minute left in the round, a wide-eyed and focused Alvarado maintained a poised and steady attack.
In between the third and fourth, a cut and bloodied left eye was visible on Cancio.
In the fourth round, DAZN commentator and former professional boxer Sergio Mora noted Cancio’s body language as a point of concern.
“It is all Rene Alvarado through four,” noted fellow DAZN commentator Berto Duran.
Power punch numbers through round four showed a 39 percentage (126 landed, 327 thrown) versus 29 percentage (73 landed, 250 thrown) stats in favor of Alvarado.
Cancio brought aggression in the fifth, but Alvarado handled the arsenal well. At approximately the 1:30 minute mark, Alvarado hurt Cancio and continued a barrage of shots to close the round.
“Every time (Cancio) gets hit, he gets shook,” noted Mora.
A bloodied and bruised Cancio was examined by the California Athletic Commission doctor between the fifth and sixth rounds, with referee Raul Caiz Sr. issuing a warning for the corner to keep an eye on Cancio.
With fellow countryman and boxer Román “Chocolatito” González in his corner, Alvarado’s confidence continued in the sixth round.
“I’m going to give him one round, Raul. If he doesn’t turn it around here I’m going to stop it,” stated Cancio’s cornerman and trainer Joseph Janik to the referee in between the sixth and seventh round.
The start of the seventh saw a visibly fresher and acute Alvarado delivering more of the same – countering consistently, dictating distance, and landing shots.
“The body language is not there,” noted Mora of Cancio during the online streamcast. “I know what he’s feeling; I know what he’s going through.”
Veteran referee Caiz Sr. called a stop to the bout between the seventh and eighth round. An emotional Alvarado sat in the corner and embraced the moment.
“He came in with the perfect gameplan, (and) executed it. Beautiful night for Rene Alvarado,” stated Duran. “The B-Side, the underdog, didn’t act like it.”
Final punch stat numbers showed Alvarado landing 232 of 703 thrown punches (33 percent) to Cancio’s 154 of 559 (28 percent).
“We didn’t take (this fight) as a rematch; we took it as a new opportunity to fight for a world title. We weren’t looking for revenge, (we were looking to) become a world champion,” said Alvarado during a post-fight interview with DAZN sports’ Claudia Trejos. “It was a very tough fight, and I think Cancio will come back with a lot of strength.”
For his part, Cancio commented to Trejo that camp in the lead-in to the fight went well and credited Alvarado’s performance.
“Rene fought a hell of a fight tonight. I was like two steps behind him, I don’t know – there’s nothing I can say. He fought his fight tonight and he got his revenge through this rematch. Congratulations to him,” said Cancio, also thanking Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “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, regroup, and see what we have to do. (...) I’ve been here before, so like I said – it is what it is. It’s part of the game and I want to thank all my fans for coming out and supporting. And congratulate Rene – it was his night.”
The lead-in to the fight also found Cancio publicly questioning Golden Boy’s promotional strategy and according exposure in a Nov. 23 Los Angeles Times article with Manouk Akopyan.
As originally reported by ESPN Senior Writer Dan Rafael, Golden Boy Promotions released Cancio three days later, on Nov. 26, following the loss.
Cancio is no longer listed on Golden Boy Promotions’ roster of fighters.
On social media and boxing message boards, Cancio fans questioned Golden Boy Promotions’ decision to schedule El Chango’s second title defense on the same night and time heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder rematched Luis Ortiz at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, which aired on the competing PBC (Premier Boxing Champions) on FOX platform.