“Don’t quit your day job.”
Maybe the snarkiest, most degrading thing you can say to someone pursuing their dreams is that simple phrase that implies someone isn’t good enough to rise above the hobbyist level. In boxing, however, there are plenty of elite, world class fighters who simply haven’t made enough money yet to quit working their day jobs and focus on boxing fulltime. One of these men is Andrew Cancio, the WBA Super Featherweight champion.
It’s hard not to think about how good Cancio could be if he only had to worry about boxing, especially after seeing his schedule, which reads “4:30 a.m. Morning Run. 6 a.m. Day Job. 5 p.m. Train. 8 p.m. Family Time. Repeat.” But “El Chango” isn’t thinking about how many more fights until he can leave the gas company he works for; he’s content working full-time and training after work.
“As far as like just doing boxing only, I have not mapped out anything,” Cancio told Sherdog.com. “I just want to take it fight by fight and see where the road leads us. I’m definitely not going to do a leave of absence anytime soon. I would need to have a big, big payday to even consider that. Right now, I’m taking it fight by fight, and hopefully I’ll come out victorious on June 21.”
While working a full-time job isn’t going to give him any advantages in the long term, going into his rematch with Alberto Machado it might actually do him some good. The last time Cancio fought Machado, he entered the fight as a big underdog, fought him at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California and stopped him in the fourth round. For the rematch, he will likely be an underdog again, will fight him at the exact same arena, and will look to replicate the results of the first matchup. Even though Cancio will now bring the title into the ring, he doesn’t feel like much in his life has changed.
“Now people are giving me the recognition, some people see me on the streets, and they recognize me and they’ll ask for a photo or an autograph,” Cancio said. “I don’t feel like too much has changed just yet, I still go to work every day, I’m driving home from work right now, and I’m still grinding. So I don’t see anything has changed too dramatically yet.”
The onus will be on Machado -- whom Dazn viewed as one of their rising stars -- to do something differently this time. The Puerto Rican southpaw, whose sole loss is to Cancio, has been claiming that he was dealing with personal issues going into the first fight which led to his loss, noting: “I had a situation with my family. I have a baby, a one-year-old son. He had surgery in the groin. I had to stay with my wife. I had to tend to my wife. The process of recuperation for a baby is very difficult. It was difficult to come here, and I came here in a condition I had not been used to. Two weeks before the fight I was 17 pounds over. One week before the weigh-in I was 11 pounds over. One day before the weigh-in I was six pounds over. It’s hard for me, but this is part of it. I take full responsibility.”
Cancio didn’t appreciate the excuses Machado threw out, noting that before the last fight he said he was ready, but now he’s saying he wasn’t. But whether the weight and personal life issues played a role or not, the biggest changes Machado is going to have to make will be in the ring. There, Cancio anticipates he won’t want to go toe to toe again after struggling with his power the last time.
“I think he’s going to try to run more,” Cancio said. “I don’t think he’s going to try and engage. He says he’s going to come forward, but I don’t think he will. It doesn’t matter, I’m ready for whatever he brings me. I’m confident in my abilities, I’m confident in my trainers and my combinations have been coming out great in sparring. It’s like I told him yesterday, I already know how to hurt you and I’m going to go right back to it.”
If he can beat Machado in a rematch, Cancio has already talked about doing things like fighting Gervonta Davis in Baltimore. That may sound like a crazy idea for a guy working a 9-to-5 (especially when, if Twitter is any indication, Davis has plenty of free time), but that’s why Cancio says he’s in the boxing business.
“I’m not in this boxing world to just not fight anybody, I want to fight the best,” he said. “I’m not going to shy away from any of the champions. I’d definitely love to fight him in the future, those are the big fights that I want.”
Boxing has always been a sport of inspirational stories. So while high schools are littered with Muhammed Ali “impossible is nothing” posters, and the “Rocky” theme music is the go-to inspirational song of athletes everywhere, maybe Andrew Cancio can be the motivation of every Uber driver with a mixtape, English teacher with a novel or waitress with a headshot. And maybe, the next time somebody quips that you “shouldn’t quit your day job” you can smirk at them with the knowledge that somewhere in California, there’s a world champion that spends his weekends punching the best fighters in the world and his weekdays punching the clock.
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