Alberto Machado's upset win over Jezreel Corrales last year to win the WBA super featherweight title had some wondering if he really belongs at the top of the 130-pound division.
At the very least, Machado was dominant in his first world title defense as he knocked down mandatory challenger Rafael Mensah in the first round en route to a shutout victory on the scorecards. Machado won with scores of 120-107 on all three judges scorecards in the co-feature bout of Jaime Munguia vs. Liam Smith for the WBO junior middleweight title.
Machado started the contest well with a right hand knocking down Mensah in the opening frame. Although Mensah got back up, he never posed a significant threat to Machado, who maintained a high level punch output to win every round of the fight. According to CompuBox, Machado landed 234 of 780 punches (30 percent), and Mensah connected with 90 of 441 (20 percent).
Mensah, who was fighting in his first fight outside of Ghana, had won all 31 of his fights prior to his meeting with Machado, knocking out his opponent in 23 of those wins.
The 27-year-old Machado known to be one of the best knockout artists at super featherweight, got his first taste competing in a long fight with a world championship on the line. This was Machado's second fight scheduled to go 12 rounds, but it was the first time he had gone 12 rounds deep in a fight.
His first 12-round fight was his world title win over Corrales, who was stripped of the title the day before the fight for missing weight, but Machado knocked him out in the eighth round. Before that, Machado had only gone past the fourth round only one in his career at that point, which spanned 18 fights, mostly taking place in his native country of Puerto Rico.