Angel Fierro didn’t think twice before accepting when the call came a couple weeks ago to battle Alberto Machado on short notice.

The unknown Mexican lightweight was already training to fight a southpaw March 12 in Tijuana, his hometown. Fierro had hoped to fight Machado at some point anyway, thus he saw this televised 10-rounder against a former world champion Thursday night as a chance too good to turn down.

“Alberto Machado is an elite fighter,” Fierro said during a virtual press conference Monday. “But I’ve stayed prepared for this opportunity and I’m ready to fight.”

Puerto Rico’s Machado (22-2, 18 KOs) and Fierro (17-1-1, 13 KOs) will headline a “Ring City USA” tripleheader, which NBC Sports Network will televise from Albergue Olimpico in Salinas, Puerto Rico (9 p.m. ET). Machado was supposed to face San Antonio’s Hector Tanajara (19-0, 5 KOs), but Tanajara pulled out of their fight due to an undisclosed illness.

“We know we’re in enemy territory here,” Fierro said. “Being [near] his hometown, they’re gonna be rooting for him. But I have no worries. It’s gonna be a war. The fight’s gonna be a war.”

The 22-year-old Fierro suffered his only professional loss two fights ago. He bounced back from that eight-round, majority-decision defeat to Alex Martin (15-3, 6 KOs) in January 2020 by knocking out countryman Alexis Reyes (17-6-1, 7 KOs) in the ninth round October 16 in Hermosillo, Mexico.

The 30-year-old Machado will fight for the second time as a full-fledged lightweight. The former WBA super featherweight champion moved up to the lightweight limit of 135 pounds following back-to-back knockout defeats to Andrew Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KOs) in 2019.

“We studied the Cancio fights,” Fierro said. “We’re analyzing his strengths, his weaknesses, his chin, everything. So, we’re well prepared for how he’s gonna fight. … I can’t promise the knockout, but I assure you it’s gonna be a war and I’m gonna look for [the knockout], like all Mexicans do.”

In NBC Sports Network’s co-feature Thursday night, Puerto Rico’s Jose Martinez (21-1-2, 14 KOs) will meet Mexico’s Israel Gonzalez (26-4, 11 KOs) in a 10-round bantamweight bout. In the six-round opener of this three-fight telecast, Irish light heavyweight Joe Ward (2-1, 2 KOs) will try to avenge his injury-related, second-round, technical-knockout loss in his pro debut to Marco Delgado (7-1, 5 KOs), of Turlock, California.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.