By Doug Fischer
Puerto Rican junior lightweight prospect Alberto Machado gave his career and the people of his beleaguered island a boost with a come-from-behind eighth-round stoppage of odds favorite Jezreel Corrales in the main event of an HBO “Boxing After Dark” broadcast on Saturday n Verona, New York.
Machado (19-0, 17 knockouts) was outworked and outlanded early in the bout and dropped in Round 5, but the 27-year-old southpaw badly hurt Corrales in Round 6 and brutally dropped the world-ranked Panamanian during an exchange of massive left hands in Round 8. Corrales (22-2, 8 KOs) got up on groggy legs before the count of 10 but referee Mark Nelson deemed him unable to continue, waving the bout off at 2:18 of the round.
With the upset, Machado, who is co-promoted by Miguel Cotto and Golden Boy Promotions, picked up the WBA 130-pound title, which was vacated when Corrales failed to make the junior lightweight limit at Friday’s weigh-in.
For the first three rounds of the bout, it looked like the added weight that Corrales kept on severed him well as the unorthodox southpaw struck early and often with his left cross. However, what appeared to be a gross mismatch quickly transformed into an awkward but entertaining shootout during the middle rounds as Machado began to time Corrales with his right hook, which rocked “El Invisible” in Round 5.
It was an interesting style matchup with the inexperienced Machado’s superior technique and blunt power clashing with the well-traveled Corrales’ creative offense and explosive athleticism. The more textbook boxing foundation ultimately beat out the more experienced athletic talent, and with this result Corrales may have been exposed as being a little overrated followed his back-to-back victories over respected long-reigning WBA titleholder Takashi Uchiyama in Japan last year.
In his U.S. and HBO debut in July, Corrales did not look like a world-beater while struggling to a 10-round technical majority decision over Robinson Castellanos. Machado, who has only fought past eight rounds once – in his last bout, a 10-round decision over Carlos Morales in August – did not look like a world-beater, either, but his victory on Saturday hopefully perked up the spirits of Puerto Rican boxing fans (and there are a lot of them on the island and in the continental U.S.) in the wake of the hurricane Maria’s devastation. Machado, whose wife and newborn baby were in Puerto Rico during his training camp for Corrales, dedicated his victory to the people on the U.S. territory.
“Puerto Rico still has hope, it can still stand up from this,” he said.
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Source:: The Ring – Boxing