Friday, June 09, 2023  |


Andrew Cancio wants big fights at 130, but first must deal with a familiar foe

Photo by Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
Fighters Network

The long hours of working in the field for the Southern California Gas Company are just as hard and difficult as putting in the roadwork and time in the gym for Andrew Cancio. He could hit the snooze button instead of pulling himself out of bed at 4:30 A.M., but Cancio is just as motivated now as he was before winning a secondary world title belt on Feb. 9.

Cancio also believes this new chapter in his career, including the hard days at work, will lead to greater rewards, including becoming the best fighter at 130 pounds.

First, he must get by a familiar foe, who is also on a winning streak of his own.

Cancio will square off against Rene Alvarado on Saturday night at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. The 12-round bout will stream live on DAZN (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).

At Friday’s weigh-in, Cancio (21-4-2, 16 knockouts) weighed in at 129.4 pounds. Alvarado (31-8, 20 KOs) weighed 129.2 pounds.

The 31-year-old Cancio, who is originally from Blythe, California and trains across the state in Ventura, last defended his belt on June 21 in Indio, knocking out Alberto Machado in the third round. The fight was a rematch of their first fight on Feb. 9, where Cancio overcame a knockdown in round one to stop the Puerto Rican fighter in round four.

Since then, Cancio’s celebrity amongst fight fans, and back home in Blythe, has skyrocketed. In a ceremony in July, the city of Blythe presented Cancio with a key to the city. Besides local dignitaries, Oscar De La Hoya, Cancio’s promoter, was also in attendance.

Cancio has been one of the feel-good stories of 2019, but he wants more. He wants to fulfill the hopes of fighting any of the world titleholders at 130 pounds. He has to defeat Alvarado, whom he faced back in December of 2015, which also took place at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino. After a slow start, Cancio was able to break down Alvarado before knocking him out in round eight.

Alvarado, who resides in Managua, Nicaragua, defeated journeyman Eusebio Osejo by technical decision in his last bout on Apr. 26. The 30-year-old, who is the twin brother of IBF junior flyweight titleholder Felix Alvarado, has won his last seven bouts since losing to Yuriorkis Gamboa in March of 2017.

Cancio is aware of the recent success of Alvarado, but he believes he will again dominate Alvarado again.

“We’re approaching (this fight) differently,” Cancio told The Ring in an interview last week. “I think we’re a different fighter than in 2015, based on the stuff we’re working on. I feel we’re going to throw a lot more combinations, a lot more jabs, (show) more head movement. I think he’s going to be in a lot of trouble. Last time around we fought, I felt I was a more come-forward type of guy, with my hands up, (and I) didn’t really move my head. I was throwing two punches at a time. I’m going to surprise a lot of people. I think we’re going to outbox him. I don’t think it’s going to go to the scorecards. I know he’s going to try to mix it up but I think we’re mentally and physically ready for this fight. We’re ready to continue down this path in this 130-pound weight division.”

“I think he’s the same fighter. He comes forward and puts a lot of pressure on these fighters. He throws a bunch of punches and overwhelms his opponents. But he couldn’t do that to me in 2015 and I know he’s not going to that to me this time around. I know how to fight the way he fights too. I can come forward. I can bang it out. I don’t want to do that the whole fight. If I have to, I will do it. What he does well is what he does, but he also leaves himself open. I’m the only who has knocked him out. I’m going to throw a lot more jabs, more combinations, move my head more, and I can pick and choose who I want to approach the fight.

Cancio, who has been trained by Joseph ‘Hoss’ Janik over his last several fights, has engaged in trash-talk with IBF titleholder Tevin Farmer, as well as Joseph Diaz, who Cancio suffered his last loss at the hands of in September of 2016.

The 31-year-old Cancio hopes to fight either one, but would like a unification fight against WBC titleholder Miguel Berchelt or WBO titleholder Jamel Herring.

“I feel I can be the best 130-pound fighter (in boxing),” said Cancio, who is managed by Ray Chaparro. “I feel I can beat all those guys. I feel that me and Berchelt could make for a great war. I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again; I don’t mind fighting any of the world champions at 130 (pounds). If everything works out on Nov. 23, we’re going to look forward to 2020 and making big fights with some big paydays.”

He is even open to fighting Leo Santa Cruz, who is defending the WBA title against Miguel Flores on the same night in Las Vegas on the Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz card, but believes he is the real WBA titleholder.

“I know Leo Santa Cruz is fighting for the WBA Super super featherweight title. As far as I’m concerned, I’m the real WBA champion.”

Cancio has stated he is willing to fight anyone. Coupled with his blue-collar job and humility, Cancio has become a fan-favorite. He is recognized more in the Ventura County area, where he lives and trains, obliging fans with an autograph or photo.

Cancio is proudest of his two children, whom he sees often when he is not in training. As much as he has enjoyed his recent success in the ring, he is also grateful for the opportunities in and out of the ring. He is in a better place than where he was three years ago, when he was semi-retired and on the verge on fully hanging up the gloves.

“Everything is good in life (right now). I’m happy.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper,, and He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing