Photo Credit: Matt Heasley/ Golden Boy Promotions
VERONA, NY — Puerto Rico has a new world champion and a lineal one at that. Alberto Machado looked overmatched and outgunned before landing an eraser left hook to put down favorite Jezreel Corrales at the Turning Stone Casino.
Machado, who had never gone ten rounds nor faced a fighter of Corrales’ pedigree, struggled with his opponent’s explosiveness and wild attacks. But a glimmer of hope could be seen early on — Machado occasionally time a counter hook that would stop Corrales in his tracks.
It would be Machado who first tasted the canvas in the fifth off a haymaker southpaw left. Machado weathered the storm and hurt Corrales badly with a short hook in the sixth. Corrales would hold on for the rest of the round, but the larger Machado extracted a price for this tactic by placing a forearm in Corrales’ throat every time.
After a tit for tat seventh with hard-fought but sloppy exchanges, Machado landed a short left hook that Corrales did not see coming. The champion slumped to the canvas and barely beat the count on unsteady legs. The referee ruled him unfit to canvas despite the protests.
After Corrales failed to make weight for this bout, I started to feel like maybe his Uchiyama victories were simply the result of being in the right place and at the right time against a declining champion. Since then he’s looked nothing like the guy some expected to be a force at super featherweight. He was floored twice by journeyman Robinson Castellanos and barely escaped with a technical decision win. Tonight, we was even more so reckless with his defense and attacks against Machado and it cost him dearly.
Corrales was vocal about wanting a rematch, but I don’t see how it’s feasible if he can’t make 130 safely. Plus, this bout wasn’t exactly eye-pleasing. The late exchanges and drama don’t make up for a first half mostly filled with awkward cliching and clumsy punching.
DEMETRIUS ANDRADE UD12 ALANTEZ FOX: Andrade’s career-reboot continued last night with a lopsided unanimous decision. Fox was severly outclassed, landing less than 60 punches over the entire fight. While not an exciting bout, it was one that showed why most observers feel Andrade has untapped potential: length, punch accuracy and an excellent jab from the southpaw stance. Outside of a questionable knockdown, Andrade dominated. This was the first time he’s fought twice in a calendar year since 2013, so to state he needs to keep active is an understatement. With HBO’s backing, I’m expecting Andrade to be in the mix for bouts against the 160 elite by this time next year.
RYAN BURNETT UD12 ZHANAT ZHAKIYANOV: This was a good fight to introduce U.S. fans to Ryan Burnett. The 25-year-old from Belfast, Ireland had a tough out against a bull of a fighter in Zhakiyanov, but the boxed well and battled in the trenches when necesssary. The scores rewarded his varied attack and skill (119-109, 118-110, 116-112). Now he’s a unified champion with the WBA and IBF super bantamweight titles. None of the top fighters in the division are locked up by the PBC or Showtime, so this is division, much like super flyweight, that HBO can showcase exclusively.