With a clear conscience, Alberto Machado goes for junior lightweight gold
Alberto “El Explosivo” Machado has had plenty to worry about outside of boxing but there is only one thing on his mind tonight as he fights for his first world title in the main event of an HBO “Boxing After Dark” (10:05 p.m. ET/PT) card, from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.
With two devastating hurricanes bringing his home of Puerto Rico to near-ruin during his training camp, Machado was ready to partake in a full workout before sitting down with UCNLive.com to discuss his first world title shot. With his first newborn son on the island, the question of whether or not he thought of putting his career on hold to be there was begging to be asked.
“No. I had the intention to bring them back here to Los Angeles but they calmed my conscience and told me it was OK and that they’re fine. They wanted me to focus on training,” he said.
Machado, 27, says he is anxious about not being there, while seeing the reports come in of a long and arduous recovery process, but he was able to at least visit the homeland between the two hurricanes. Along with the peace of mind his family has assured him, since then, the San Juan native knows what he’s doing here ultimately affects them too.
“It’s new motivation for me,” said Machado. “It was really tough to leave him behind after only five days of him being born but that’s my motivation to become a world champion and, with this win, I can provide a better future for them.”
Machado, 18-0 (15), the No. 4-ranked junior lightweight in the eyes of the WBA, is coming off his American television debut last August, in which he earned a unanimous decision over Carlos Morales on ESPN. After scoring a second round knockdown in the fight, which took place in Puerto Rico, Machado showcased his explosiveness in the decisive win. However in a final round, in which the prospect looked tired and his opponent inspired, a looming question remained of what went wrong in those final three minutes.
“It was the first time going all 10 rounds in my career and I was trying things out in that final round,” admitted Machado. Juan De Leon, serving as Machado’s manager and interpreter, elaborated on the situation, stating that Machado’s first training camp, under the auspices of Freddie Roach and Marvin Somodio, may have took a toll as well, especially considering he shared camp with his idol WBO junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto. “I think he might’ve overtrained,” stated De Leon, who also said Machado was trying to impress Cotto.
“When I came here, I was already a complete fighter but they’ve added a little more detail and made some small adjustments. You’ll see the same type of fighter, as you saw in my last fight with Morales,” said Machado about training in the United States. That, of course, comes with the slight adjustment of not letting himself overtrain in his second camp stateside. (Cotto hasn’t been training at the Wild Card Boxing Club, this time around.) However when asked if the sparring in Southern California has been better than back home, Machado revealed that coming to the States has helped him mature as fighter.
“Maybe, yes,” he answered, “In Puerto Rico, they’re are really good fighters but the ambience is better here. The concentration is better. The way Marvin and Freddie works is different.”
Corrales, 22-1 (8), lost his WBA junior lightweight title on the scale, Friday afternoon, after coming in four pounds overweight. But Machado, who weighed in at the limit of 130 pounds, most likely expected Corrales to be heavy, considering he fought at a shade under 147 pounds in his most recent fight after making weight. Corrales’ debut on HBO was cut short thanks to a nasty cut his opponent Robinson Castellanos suffered and, although he received a technical majority decision in that fight last July, the Panamanian seemingly got away with one in a close fight, in which he was dropped twice in round four.
“I expect this fight to go the distance,” said Machado on their match-up. “I’m not looking at just Corrales’ last fight. He went to Japan and beat the same guy (Takashi Uchiyama) twice in a row to win that title. I feel like we have the perfect game plan to beat him.”
With both men fighting out of the southpaw stance tonight, a technical chess match shouldn’t be a surprise but, after seeing Machado take part in a full 90-minute workout, a week-and-a-half out, the prospect looks primed physically to become the only other Puerto Rican, other than his idol, to currently hold a world title.