Eddie Hearn has won the lottery, signing unbeaten super middleweight phenom Edgar Berlanga (20-0, 26 KOs) to a multi-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing. Berlanga will now be fighting on DAZN after having previously had his fights for Top Rank on ESPN.
Berlanga will make his debut for Matchroom this summer against a still-to-be-determined opponent. Edgar has made it clear that he wants to fight Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in his first fight for Hearn. We’ll see if Hearn grants Berlanga his wish.
Hearn may want a better opponent than the 38-year-old second-tier middleweight O’Sullivan for Berlanga because that fight won’t bring in more than a tiny trickle of new subscribers to DAZN.
Berlanga needs to face someone that the hardcore boxing fans respect and are interested in seeing for his first fight with Hearn to attract new subscribers to DAZN.
It’s understandable why Hearn signed the popular Berlanga, considering he’s been selling out the Hula Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Berlanga will continue to bring in large crowds under Hearn’s helm as long as he doesn’t mess up the gravy train by throwing him in with someone a little too good right off the bat, like David Benavidez, Diego Pacheco, or David Morrell. Although Berlanga has ambition, he’s not ready for those killers yet.
This is a move by Hearn to slowly build the 25-year-old New York native Berlanga to a mega-fight against Canelo Alvarez. If everything goes well for Berlanga, he could face Canelo as early as next year.
Much will depend on how Berlanga looks in his first two fights of his multi-fight contract with Matchroom. If he shines, his third will be against Canelo, likely on DAZN PPV in 2023.
In the first 16 fights of his career, Berlanga recorded a string of first round knockouts from 2016 to 2020.
Lately, however, Berlanga has hit a dry patch, failing to score stoppages in his last four fights after his former promoters at Top Rank stepped him up a level against fringe contenders at 168.
Hearn will need to continue the development of Berlanga to get him to make enough improvements to where he won’t embarrass himself, Matchroom, and DAZN when he’s eventually put in with Canelo Alvarez next year or 2024.
At this point, Berlanga is still a project that needs considerable grooming before being matched against the elite-level competition. But, of course, it depends on what Hearn’s overall goals are for signing Berlanga.
If it’s to make quick money, he can achieve that goal by matching him against a couple of journeymen before tossing him in with Canelo.
Berlanga had a difference of opinion with Top Rank about the way that they wanted to keep him moving at a slow career pace, as he felt he was ready to be stepped up against top five competition at 168. He wanted WBO interim super middleweight champion John Ryder, whereas Top Rank preferred that Berlanga face Jesse Hart.
“I’m excited to start my new journey with the best promoter in the world, the legend Eddie Hearn,” said Berlanga. “I’m looking to build my legacy in the sport of boxing.
“I’m looking for the big fights, and I know signing with Matchroom was the right choice to get me to where I want to go. I will dedicate myself to becoming the best 168-pounder in the world. My main goal is to land the Canelo fight and renew the greatest rivalry in boxing – Mexico vs. Puerto Rico.”
Well, at least Berlanga is open about his main desire to face Canelo, but it would be better if he had more lofty goals than just getting the fight against the Mexican star. Berlanga must prove himself capable of competing against Canelo and winning a world title.
Berlanga’s recent fights have shown that he’s a long way off from being ready to fight against a talent like Canelo. In Berlanga’s last four fights, he’s beaten Roamer Alexis Angulo, Steve Rolls, Marcelo Esteban Coceres, and Demond Nicolson.