By Keith Idec
Andrew Cancio won a world title near his hometown Saturday night.
As great as that felt, Cancio would have no problem whatsoever traveling to Gervonta Davis’ hometown to clear up the WBA’s 130-pound championship mess. Davis is tentatively scheduled to defend his WBA super world super featherweight title at some point in July in his native Baltimore.
Cancio recognizes that it could become complicated to make their fight, unless the WBA reverses its recent trend of stacking sanctioning fees and actually orders a fight that should take place next. Davis is represented by Mayweather Promotions and fights on Showtime, whereas Golden Boy Promotions has Cancio under contract to box on DAZN.
If those affiliations don’t prohibit promoters from making it, Cancio is sure he can give Davis the type of difficult fight the powerful southpaw hasn’t had in nearly six years as a professional.
“I’ve seen him fight, of course,” Cancio told BoxingScene.com on Monday. “He’s really good and he’s fast. He’s shorter than I am, but he’s got a big punch and he’s super-fast. But my style gives a lot of people trouble and of course I feel I’ll probably do the same thing against Davis – go forward and put the pressure on him. I think that’s what gives a lot of my opponents a hard time, you know, the pressure and the body punches.”
The 30-year-old Cancio’s vicious body assault led to his huge upset of Alberto Machado on Saturday night in Indio, California. Cancio survived a first-round knockdown, dropped the previously unbeaten Machado three times in the fourth round and stopped the former champion in that round at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.
Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KOs) now owns a victory over the fighter who was widely viewed as the WBA’s true champion at 130 pounds.
Puerto Rico’s Machado (21-1, 17 KOs) knocked out Panama’s Jezreel Corrales (22-2, 8 KOs, 1 NC) in the eighth round to win the WBA super world super featherweight title in October 2017. The next month, the WBA informed Machado that he was its “world” super featherweight champion, not its “super” world super featherweight champion.
The Panama City-based sanctioning organization later approved Davis’ third-round stoppage of Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar (28-3, 21 KOs) as a fight for its inexplicably vacant super world super featherweight title. The WBA never ordered a Davis-Machado match, which enabled Davis (21-0, 20 KOs) to knock out late replacement Hugo Ruiz (39-5, 33 KOs) in an optional title defense Saturday night in Carson, California.
Cancio, of Blythe, California, is four inches shorter than the 5-feet-10 Machado and barely taller than Davis. He’s still not sure Davis’ handlers will want Davis to fight him.
“A lot of people are afraid of taller fighters, especially when they have a punch,” Cancio said, “because they have that distance right away, and that way you don’t give them the leverage. Now, with Davis, I don’t know if they’re gonna want it after they seen me take out Machado in four rounds. But now I think they thought Machado hit hard, and then here I come in and just put him out in four rounds. I mean, it doesn’t matter. I would love for them to want to fight me. I would love to fight them. It’d be a great payday for me. And not only that, it would continue to build on my legacy.”
The WBA somehow has either ordered or will order separate mandatory matches for Davis and Cancio, even though it should offer only one title at 130 pounds.
Nicaragua’s Rene Alvarado (30-8, 20 KOs) is the mandatory challenger for Cancio’s championship. Promoter Oscar De La Hoya already has mentioned placing Cancio-Alvarado on the Canelo Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs undercard May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Davis’ next opponent could be the winner of a WBA eliminator between the Bahamas’ Edner Cherry (37-7-2, 19 KOs, 1 NC) and Panama’s Ricardo Nunez (20-2, 18 KOs) on March 2 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. If Davis indeed faces the Cherry-Nunez winner in July at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Cancio would be more than willing to box Davis in Baltimore later this year.
“I was ready to go to Puerto Rico to fight Machado,” Cancio said. “I know ‘Tank’ Davis has the other belt. What’s it called? The WBA super title? He has that. He has that belt and he’s been a champion for a while now. So yeah, out of respect, you know, I would go to his hometown to fight. Hopefully we could sell out the arena. Whatever my promoter and my manager want and can set up, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get my name out there and continue my legacy.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.