Super middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga (20-0, 16 KOs) was forced to get on his bike to box his way to a 10-round unanimous decision against the formidable former two-time world title challenger Alexis Angulo (27-3, 23 KOs) on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Berlanga was getting hit a lot by Angulo early in the first quarter of the fight and looked like he was heading towards a knockout defeat.
What Berlanga did was switch to a Devin Haney-esque style, which involved a lot of jabbing, holding & moving to stymie Angulo’s offense.
Berlanga’s imitation of Haney wasn’t a perfect copy, but it was close enough for him to control many of the rounds in the second half of the contest.
However, it was very, very boring to watch Berlanga, a knockout artist, moving and jabbing to survive against the 38-year-old Angulo. Besides Berlanga being boring to watch, that style isn’t going to work for him against David Benavidez, Caleb Plant, or Canelo Alvarez.
Berlanga is going to need a lot more than that for him to beat those kinds of fighters.
This writer had Angulo winning 6-4. He looked like the better fighter and the one that was making the fight happen by applying pressure against a fleeing Berlanga.
After struggling early with the tricky shots and pressure from the Colombian Angulo, Berlanga switched to plan B to neutralize the offense of his 38-year-old opponent by using constant movement.
Berlanga’s mobility worked, but it made the fight unwatchable, and it prevented him from sitting down on his shots the way he usually does.
I think this writer speaks for all boxing fans by saying that Berlanga should have risked everything to make it an entertaining fight by going all with his offense.
If Berlanga had fought as he used to when he started his career with 16 consecutive first-round knockouts, it would have been interesting to watch, win or lose.
The 25-year-old Berlanga probably didn’t expect to have so many problems with Angulo, as he’s been easily beaten in the past by David Benavidez and Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez.
What boxing fans found out tonight was Berlanga is nowhere near the same level as Benavidez and Zurdo, and he’s lucky to have gotten the decision.
Berlanga never hurt Angulo, although he did land some nice shots from time to time. There weren’t enough big punches fromBerlanga, and he looked scared of his opponent and unwilling to put himself in a position where he might have to put his chin on the line.
Top Rank will need to continue to take their time with Berlanga because he’s not ready to take on an ultimate fighter at 168.