Alberto Machado’s mission is to remind boxing fans of why he was once a promising champion in the 130-pound division.

Machado moved up to the lightweight limit of 135 pounds following back-to-back knockout losses to Andrew Cancio in 2019. The Puerto Rican veteran knocked out Luis Porozo in the second round of his comeback bout in December 2019, but a bigger opportunity awaits the former WBA super featherweight champion Thursday night.

His fight against Angel Fierro, Machado’s first appearance in 15 months, will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network as part of its “Ring City USA” series. Their 10-round main event will be televised from Albergue Olimpico in Salinas, Puerto Rico (9 p.m. ET).

“I wanna demonstrate that I can be world champion again,” Machado said during a virtual press conference Monday. “I wanna prove myself in this fight, that I have the power and the energy back. This is what I wanna do.”

The 5-feet-10 Machado (22-2, 18 KOs) felt depleted in his two losses to Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KOs), who upset the powerful southpaw by fourth-round knockout in their first fight and knocked him out in the third round of their immediate rematch.

“Every boxer wanna be a world champion,” Machado said. “We wanna defend the title. You know, but some things are more important, maintaining a good weight. It’s more important to come into the ring healthy, with energy.”

Machado knew he had to move up to the lightweight division following those two knockout losses to Cancio.

“I think I had great performances at 130 pounds,” Machado said. “But right now, in the lightweight division my weight is good. My body feels more comfortable. Really, I just need to demonstrate [it] Thursday to prove what I can do in the ring.”

The 30-year-old Machado was supposed to fight San Antonio’s Hector Tanajara (19-0, 5 KOs) on Thursday night. Mexico’s Fierro (17-1-1, 13 KOs) replaced Tanajara on short notice once Tanajara withdrew from the fight due to an undisclosed illness.

“I expect a great fight because Angel Fierro, for him, this is a great opportunity,” Machado said. “Come to Puerto Rico, fight against a former world champion. … But I am ready for him. He looks at this opportunity as big for him and his family. Maybe he comes really motivated, but I am motivated, too, because I can prove myself to continue my career for my family and demonstrate why I became a world champion [at] super featherweight.”

NBC Sports Network will televise two bouts before Machado-Fierro on Thursday night.

In the co-feature, 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. Irish light heavyweight Joe Ward (2-1, 2 KOs) also will attempt to avenge his injury-related, second-round, technical-knockout loss in his pro debut in a televised six-round rematch with Marco Delgado (7-1, 5 KOs), of Turlock, California.

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