Alberto Machado aims for a reset in his career as he takes on Steve Claggett
Former junior lightweight titlist Alberto Machado hopes to gatecrash the junior welterweight division when he takes on grizzled veteran Steve Claggett for the vacant NABF title at the Montreal Casino, Montreal on Thursday.
Machado, who won the WBA 130-pound title against Jezreel Corrales in 2017 and went on to make two successful defenses before losing his title and his way in the sport, is trying to rebuild his position.
“Steve Claggett is a good fighter, he is a good contender at 140,” Machado (23-3, 19 knockouts) told The Ring. “For me this a good fight at 140 because my last fight was at 140 and this is my real weight. Claggett has a good resume and I’m ready for the challenge.”
The 32-year-old Puerto Rican struggled to fit his 5-feet-10 frame into 130-pounds and came tumbling down against Andrew Cancio, after losing a rematch he moved up to lightweight. But even that jump was too difficult.
“I really feel great [at 140-pounds],” he said. “I was seven years at 130, my body needed a change. My body was tall, I think I will never fight at 135, I jumped from 130 to 135. I feel good [at 140], the weight is good, my condition is better.
“It is difficult in boxing; I was always training to make weight. I took twent months to rest, took my time with myself.”
During that tough period, Machado, who has fought just twice since the fall of 2019, went from being a popular titleholder to an afterthought. The phone rang less and the purses became smaller.
“It was difficult, but thanks to God, I have good people on my side,” he said. “I did good with money when I was champion. This is an opportunity for me to show I can still do this. I was really down but can now come back up. That’s my inspiration.”
“El Explosivo” still feels he can achieve big things in boxing but that starts with Claggett tomorrow.
“My target right now is to win the fight with Claggett,” he said. “My promoter Miguel Cotto Promociones is doing a great job with me. I want to be a world champion at 140. I can do it because I have the power, I am strong mentality and am healthy. I’m doing my work at the gym and in the fights.”
While many promoters would have cut Machado loose after losing three out of five fights, Bryan Perez of Miguel Cotto Promociones was happy to keep their former titlist on their roster and feels now he can rise again.
“Machado is a special fighter for Miguel Cotto Promociones and we believe in him,” explained Cotto’s long-time confidant and Chief Executive of Miguel Cotto Promociones. “Making 130 after he won the world championship was a struggle for him to do weight. We explored that with [Angel] Fierro and [Machado] had a bad night. He took his time off and recalculated his career and asked for us for another opportunity to come back at 140 and we said, ‘Yes, lets run for it. We believe you; we trust you.’ That’s why we fought Jose Angulo in December and he did a statement at 140.
“Steve Claggett is a solid 140-pounds and will tell him personally where he’s at and if he can continue in the junior welterweight division or what direction he needs to go. It’s an all-in fight for him. We believe he’s ready, he’s trained, he knows the challenge he has with Steve Claggett. It’s a very good challenge for both of them, let’s see what happens on Thursday night.”
Claggett (34-7-2, 24 KOs) turned professional in 2008. He’s known as a rough, tough competitor, capable of upsetting anyone or suffering surprising losses. The 33-year-old has lost to Konstantin Ponomarev (UD 8), Chris Van Heerden (MD 10) and compatriot Yves Ulysse Jr. (UD 10). However, he also holds wins over previously unbeaten Emanuel Robles (SD 10), Ulysse (SD 10), Petros Ananyan (UD 10) and most recently Rafael Lugo (RTD 7). Claggett is on a five-fight win streak, all by stoppage.
This is a fight neither can afford to lose and I expect both to go at it from the opening bell. Machado has power but that was at 130, we’ve yet to see how that trends upwards at 140. Claggett’s in good form, while Machado hasn’t been very active. You have to favor the Canadian but I expect a tough fight for him, Machado won’t go without a fight.
Bazinyan-Macias, plus undercard bouts will be streamed on ESPN+ starting at 7:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00 p.m. PT.
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Steve Claggett aims to make his case for a title bout by taking on former champ Alberto Machado – The Ring (ringtv.com)
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].