HBO results: Alberto Machado knocks out Jezreel Corrales in comeback

Team Alberto Machado. Photo Credit: Matt Heasley/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

 

After getting up from the canvas, Alberto “El Explosivo” Machado came back from behind to score an eighth round knockout of Jezreel Corrales and became the new WBA junior lightweight titleholder, Saturday night. The contest was the main event of an HBO telecast from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, in Verona, New York.

 

“I received the instructions from (trainer) Freddie (Roach) and my team,” Machado told HBO’s Max Kellerman after the stunning finish. “Freddie told me to double up the jab and that the opportunity was going to come and that’s what happened. I won the world title for my family and for Puerto Rico.”

 

Machado, 19-0 (16), a 27-year-old southpaw from San Juan, caught Corrales with a power left hand, in the eighth round, once establishing that jab, and it slumped the Panamanian forward onto the canvas for a knockdown. Corrales took his time getting up and even waited on bended knee, while referee Mark Nelson counted, but after getting up just as he shouted 10, it was too late for Nelson’s liking and he ruled it a knockout.

 

Corrales, 22-2 (8), who lost the WBA junior lightweight title on the scale (he weighed in officially at 133.3-pounds), got off to a great start in the fight with risky spurts of offense and savvy footwork. A southpaw as well, the 26-year old showed versatility with a left hand that touched Machado’s body early and was snapping back his head by the third round. While Machado couldn’t find a way to keep the busy Corrales stationary, often times, Corrales would lunge in with his left and force a clinch, to prevent any rhythm from being established. In the fifth, a sharp left to Machado’s temple stunned him badly and forced him to fall forward for the knockdown. Not since his professional debut had Machado found himself prone and, after surviving the round, it seemed like Corrales just had Machado’s number as he was beaten to the punch in virtually every sequence.

 

“He caught me a few times but I’m a warrior from Puerto Rico,” recalled Machado.

 

Machado started to get momentum in the sixth round, in which he managed to stun Corrales for the first time in the fight. In one instance, Corrales’ glove touched the canvas, after catching a shot, but Nelson never saw it. Nevertheless, Machado found it easier to corral Corrales going forward but another left from his counterpart had him reeling momentarily in the seventh. These middle rounds offered some thrilling drama in the contest, which wasn’t all that pretty but certainly a competitive scrap that ended with a young Puerto Rican contender winning a world title, in wake of the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

 

In the co-feature, WBA “regular” junior middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade successfully made his middleweight debut with a dominant unanimous decision win over Alantez Fox with scores of 118-110, 118-109 and 116-111 after 12 rounds.

 

Undefeated Demetrius Andrade (right) vs. Alantez Fox. Photo Credit: Matt Heasley/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

 

Andrade, 25-0 (16), stunned his opponent just moments into the fight and never looked back, despite not getting the knockout he was looking for in the end.

 

Fox, 23-1-1 (11), couldn’t take advantage of the distinct height and reach his 6-foot-4-frame offered. The 25-year-old tried to establish a jab, once getting out of that opening round, but it never really kept Andrade from doing what he wanted all night. By the end, Fox managed to force Andrade to respect his power, as the fight seemed to drag on, but this was ultimately a match-up in which Andrade was on a different level in just about every category. By the end, Andrade won the battle of power shots with a remarkable 132 to Fox’s 29, after 12 rounds.

 

Opening the HBO “Boxing After Dark” telecast was a bantamweight unification bout hosted earlier at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where Ryan Burnett eared a unanimous decision over Zhanat Zhakiyanov to become the division’s only unified titleholder.

 

Earning wide scores of 116-112, 118-110, 119-109, Burnett was the clear winner, fighting in his hometown to win the WBA title and retain the IBF bantamweight belt. What those numbers didn’t reflect, however, was the physical storm he had to weather in order to earn the victory.

 

Zhakiyanov, 27-2 (18), came out of the gate fighting downhill and pressing forward, with a mauling style that looked to keep the fight in close quarters. The 33-year-old from Kazakhstan got his wish in the opening round and set a precedent in the fight that his physical bullying would not let up. It didn’t throughout the 12 rounds but Burnett, 18-0 (9), did a tremendous job of not only weathering that storm but becoming a force himself.

 

Burnett, 25, was craftier on the inside, sporting an ability to put together more creative combinations that were often times highlighted by a right uppercut. By the fight’s midway point, he went from a man showing he was able to sustain the constant pressure to becoming the enforcer. Even Zhakiyanov’s trainer Ricky Hatton noticed the tide turning, as he pleaded with his fighter that he may need a knockout to win in Belfast after round seven. Zhakiyanov never came close to achieving that against Burnett but also put forth an effort that not only kept it interesting throughout but most likely gave experience to the new unified champion.

 

 

You can reach Michael Baca II at mikebaca2@gmail.com and follow him at twitter.com/mikebaca2.

 

 

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