Andrew Cancio took his team to a steakhouse Monday, but it didn’t end up being a celebratory dinner.
Cancio was coming off a defeat 48 hours earlier in which he lost his WBA junior lightweight world title via seventh-round TKO to mandatory challenger Rene Alvarado, a fighter he had knocked out in 2015.
Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KOs), a blue-collar fighter who holds a full-time job as a construction technician at the Southern California Gas Co., still wanted to thank trainer Joseph Janik and manager Ray Chaparro for a whirlwind year in which he scored one of the biggest upsets in boxing by twice defeating Alberto Machado and becoming a world champion.
As soon as Cancio and his team met, however, Chaparro delivered career-altering news — Golden Boy Promotions was releasing Cancio from his contract, two days after the fighter expressed concerns to The Times on how his career was being handled by the company.
Cancio punched up his criticism of Golden Boy founder Oscar De La Hoya and crew because he wanted to get his underdog story heard across wider audiences and platforms in order to gain a bigger following, and thus pay days, so that he could leave his job at the gas company. Instead, Golden Boy delivered a counterpunch and cut the fighter three days before Thanksgiving.
“This just goes to show you how little I meant to them,” Cancio said Tuesday. “If I would’ve won, I’m sure we would have worked things out. But since I was on the wrong side of a win that night, they just cut me. I’m a little ticked off, but I have to get back on my feet.”
Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz called Chaparro on Sunday and said they were considering cutting Cancio after learning of his comments. By Monday, Golden Boy emailed the notice announcing his release.
“We wish Andrew all the very best of luck and hope he can find what he was missing here at Golden Boy with bigger money and bigger venues,” Diaz said.
Cancio was further upset that he was denied the co-feature slot to the Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev card Nov. 2 after Golden Boy promised him the platform in Las Vegas. Instead, Golden Boy pacified Garcia at the request of Alvarez as soon as Garcia started ripping De La Hoya and company. Cancio was further upset that his fights were not staged in bigger venues instead of Indio’s Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, a place where he has fought 12 times because of the 100-mile proximity to his hometown of Blythe.
Earlier this year, the once-retired Cancio shocked former titlist Machado in February to win the crown he lost last week, and he beat him again in June to prove it wasn’t a fluke. However, Golden Boy declined Cancio’s request for a rematch with Alvarado, another fighter they promote, and opted to serve him a pink slip instead.
“I was a world champion who suffered a defeat, and instead of giving me a rematch like they made me do against Machado, they just cut me,” Cancio said. “I was an underdog who upset one of their guys, and they had no idea I could do it. I’ve been down before, and it’s going to motivate me even more.”