Machado and Vargas Seeking Successful Title Defenses Against Hungry Challengers
WBA super featherweight champion Alberto Machado and WBC super bantamweight titleholder Rey Vargas will defend their belts this weekend in California.
Updated: Feb. 7, 2019 • 11:46 AM ET
Indio, Calif. will host several title fights this weekend.
Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. will host to a double dose of title fights this Saturday. In the main event, undefeated champion Alberto Machado will defend his WBA super featherweight title against Andrew Cancio. In the co-main event, Rey Vargas will defend his WBC super bantamweight title against hungry challenger Franklin Manzanilla.
Machado, who looks to successfully defend his title for the third time, is coming off a sensational knockout victory over Yuandale Evans in October at Madison Square Garden and wants to stay busy in 2019.
“I hope to fight four times this year and make four defenses,” Machado said via Boxing News 24. “I am very excited for all that has been happening in my career. Thank you to Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions. I’m very happy for all the opportunities.”
The 28-year-old added that he feels ready for Saturday’s fight.
“I am big for this division,” Machado said. “I’m tall. I have power, and I have speed.
“Cancio is a great warrior. I’m ready to defend my title. It’s another challenge in my career and I’m happy for this opportunity. Training camp has gone well. Freddie Roach is a great trainer and a great person. He has more time for me now, and I’m getting a lot of experience from him every day. I feel and see the difference in my fights and my sparring. Everyone who saw my last fight saw that I did better. I will continue that momentum in this fight.”
Machado (21-0, 17 KOs) has collected key victories over Rafael Mensah, Jezzrel Corrales, Carlos Morales and Juan Jose Martinez. The Puerto Rican fighter feels new opportunities have opened up for him to possibly move to a new weight class.
“DAZN is the new platform for boxing,” Machado said. “DAZN has a lot of fighters now. Boxing is going through a great time right now.
“If my promoter gives me the opportunity to unify the titles–it would be a dream come true. I’m waiting for that opportunity this year on DAZN. I may even close the year in the lightweight division as well.”
Cancio (19-4-2, 14 KOs) is coming off two straight victories since losing to Joseph Diaz in 2016. He most recently defeated Dardan Zenunaj by unanimous decision in August and is looking to make the most of his first major title shot.
“It’s very surreal to be fighting for a world title,” Cancio said. “I thought my career was done. I took a tough loss in my first pay-per-view fight [against Joseph Diaz in 2016], and that wasn’t good at all.
“I told my best friend I was going to retire. It took 17 months for me to get back in the ring. I missed the sport. I also had a lot to prove. But I knew that I could be here. I knew that I could fight for a world title. I finally got things in order. I won some fights that people thought I would lose, but here I am. I’m looking to do the same thing February 9.”
Undefeated WBC super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas (32-0, 22 KOs) is looking for his fourth straight successful title defense and 33rd straight victory. He’s coming off a unanimous decision victory over Azat Hovhannisyan in May, his fourth straight decision. After a long layoff, Vargas is ready to defend his title.
“I’m 100 percent recovered and just excited to get back in the ring,” Vargas told BoxingScene.com. “I’ve been ready to get back for months.”
The 28-year-old Vargas has key victories over Oscar Negrete, Ronny Rios, Gavin McDonnell and Alexander Munoz.
“There’s a lot going on in the division and of course with many recognizing me as the best, a lot of responsibility comes with that role,” Vargas said. “Everyone wants to knock you down from the top, but all I can do is take one fight at a time. All those guys with belts, I’d love to face them and all in 2019 if my team will allow it.
Manzanilla (18-4, 17 KOs) will fight for his first major title and for the first time in the United States. He’s coming off a stunning victory over Julio Ceja in May, his second straight win since losing to Belmar Preciado by split-decision in 2017 and eighth victory in his last nine fights.
The 30-year-old Venezuelan fighter is confident he can shock the world again on Saturday.
"We are only two humans in the ring with two arms and two legs,” Manzanilla said via Televisa Deportes. “Everything is the same. I like that he remains so confident because he is going to be surprised".
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