Steve Claggett aims to make his case for a title bout by taking on former champ Alberto Machado
Rugged junior welterweight contender Steve Claggett will face former junior lightweight titlist Alberto Machado in a scheduled 10-rounder on Thursday at the Montreal Casino, Montreal, Canada.
Claggett, a 15-year veteran of 43 fights who has regularly fought on the road and as high up as welterweight, will surprisingly have his first fight against someone who has won a world title. He intends to make the most of his big opportunity.
“I know it’s a good fight, I know he’s an experienced guy, he’s a former world champ, so he’s been at the top,” Claggett (34-7-2, 24 knockouts) told The Ring. “I’ve faced top guys my whole career.
“I believe I’m in the best shape of I’ve ever been in. I’ve put everything into this training camp. Come fight night I look forward to proving and showing how much I’ve done because I’ve really sacrificed a lot this camp. I believe in my team; I have a lot of faith in the guys behind me and it’s time to show. Piece by piece, we build a beast.”
Over the years, Claggett’s career has been tough luck, he’s had to do things his own way without a big-name promoter. That changed when he team up with Eye of The Tiger.
“My whole career has been full of ups and downs, lefts and rights, I never really had the opportunities I have now with Eye of the Tiger behind me,” he said. “I spent a lot of time in this game working alone, I’ve spent a lot of lonely days in the game of boxing.
“I have a powerhouse behind me. I’m no longer swimming in the ocean by myself, I’m on a cruise ship now [Laughs.] I have a little weight behind me. It motivates me, now I can show what I can really do. Thanks to Eye of the Tiger giving me this second life in this game, I can’t wait to make them proud.”
The 33-year-old battler is a model of perseverance. He has won his last fight fights, all inside the distance and says he won’t be denied.
“I believe that if you keep knocking on the door, eventually it’s going to open,” he said. “This is a fight where I can prove my worth in the game and show everybody, I’m not just a guy with loses, who comes to get paid. I’m a guy, who is hungry, wants to be world champion and I’m looking forward to proving it.”
Claggett is too experienced to be drawn into who his target when asked about the likes of Arnold Barboza or Jose Zepeda, top 10 types. Though did address what his goal is.
“One fight at a time,” he said. “This fights everything but if I want to be the best in the world, I have to be looking at the best at 140 and I’m looking at everybody. I have a lot of experience now. I know what I can do, one fight at a time.
“Thursday is everything to me. Then we can scan the horizon for the next steps after that. I want to be the first world champion from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.”
Claggett’s promoter, Camille Estephan of Eye of the Tiger Management, recognizes the importance of Claggett continuing his victory streak to potentially open up fights with the bigger names in the crowded division.
“Fighting Machado is a major thing given Machado’s prior accomplishments,” said Estephan. “People say [Steve] is high risk, low reward, well this will add to the pot with a big win against Machado, so there’s a lot on the line for him to get into the major league fights.”
Machado (23-3, 19 KOs) turned professional in 2012. The Puerto Rican southpaw won his first 18 fights before getting off the canvas to stop Jezreel Corrales (TKO 8) to become the WBA 130-pound titlist. He made two successful defenses before losing a firefight against Andrew Cancio (KO 4). The two met in a rematch and Cancio again knocked out Machado, this time in three rounds in June 2019.
Since then, the now 32-year-old has fought just three-times going 2-1, losing to Angel Fierro (KO 6) at lightweight. However, at 5-10, Machado has struggled to make 135 and is now campaigning at 140-pounds.
Claggett has never had anything handed to him. He’s similar to several Mexican’s who learnt on the job and continued to move forward without a pretty record. Not everyone can be Floyd Mayweather Jr. However, the Canadian is dangerous and a tough night out for anyone.
I think he’ll be a little too strong for Machado and force the stoppage in the second half of this contest. If he can do that, he can legitimately call out a top 10 guy.
Bazinyan-Macias, plus undercard bouts will be streamed on ESPN+ starting at 7:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00 p.m. PT.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].