Edgar Berlanga took the boxing world by storm as he started his pro career with an attention-grabbing knockout streak. The heavy-handed Super middleweight put the division on notice.
He sent a message, and it was well-received by the boxing community. Fans of the sport love to see knockouts. Berlanga delivered sixteen consecutive first-round knockouts in his first sixteen professional bouts.
By delivering electrifying KOs, Berlanga built an instant fan base. Nicknamed “The Chosen One,” Berlanga had a flawless start to his pro boxing career. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
On April 24, 2021, the highly touted prospect faced Demond Nicholson. The first-round knockout streak came to a close, but Berlanga was able to knock his opponent down four times.
Nicholson went down in rounds two, three, five, and eight. Despite an overwhelming case of misfortune, Nicholson was able to go the distance.
Berlanga collected his seventeenth pro victory by way of unanimous decision. He would go on to face Marcelo Esteban Coceres in his first scheduled 10-round match.
The rising star would experience his first taste of adversity during the ninth round. Coceres scored a surprising knockdown when he caught Berlanga with a clean counter right hand. Berlanga was able to recover, finish the fight strong, and earn a unanimous decision.
After the disappointing victory over Coceres, the knockout artist planned to earn his vindication in a big way. The Brooklyn native was set to be the headliner on March 19, in the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden.
Everything was in place for Berlanga to regain his mojo by earning a signature win as the main event of a Top Rank card. Unfortunately, it didn’t go according to plan.
His opponent Steve Rolls came to win. Rolls started the bout off with constant movement. The 37-year-old was using his legs to set up his punches.
His first glimpse of effectiveness came in the third round when Rolls hit Berlanga with a sneaky right hand. In spite of his movement and landing the jab consistently, Berlanga was able to get the better of the exchanges during the course of the first four rounds.
When Berlanga aggressively stalked Rolls, he was able to land some decent right hands. The 24-year-old was in control of the fight through four rounds.
The tide had turned in the fifth round as Rolls experienced more success by pumping his jab and utilizing his right hand. Rolls appeared to win rounds five through eight.
If you nullify the official scorecards, rounds nine and ten are the rounds Berlanga bested Rolls to earn the victory. He won them by landing body shots and occasional right hands.
The lackluster victory made Berlanga the target for a substantial amount of criticism. Members of the media pointed out multiple flaws.
The biggest criticism was the fact that Berlanga followed Rolls. He was stalking Rolls, but he didn’t do an effective job of cutting the ring off.
Other factors that were pointed out were Berlanga’s lack of a consistent jab, his hesitation to throw the right hand, he threw little to no combinations and his overall lack of improvement as it relates to his skill set.
Edgar Berlanga’s biggest critic was boxing analyst Tim Bradley. The former Welterweight champion spoke on how Berlanga can’t talk about being the next, but he has to be about being the next.
Bradley referred to Berlanga as a person who is tearing up everybody in the gym, but when he gets under the bright lights he turns into a deer in headlights.
Bradley also pointed out the fact that Berlanga carrying three coaches in his corner may be hurting him. “He seemed confused. He wasn’t sure how to be.
He didn’t have an identity tonight. Normally he’s an aggressive guy. He comes forward, he’s swinging blows, he’s going back and forth, he wants to mix that action up. He didn’t seem to be that guy. He didn’t seem to be that killer tonight.”
In addition to Bradley’s verbal criticism, Berlanga received a healthy dose of criticism from his fans in the arena. “Shoot it! Shoot it!” one fan shouted as he encourages Berlanga to throw the right hand. “Use the jab! You have to set the right hand up with the jab!” another fan shouted.
Edgar Berlanga is a raw talent who arrived on the boxing scene in a big way. Yes, he has flaws, but all of them can’t be corrected after one training camp.
Berlanga is comparative to Miguel Cotto in regards to people thinking Cotto was going to be the next, and then doubts started to develop. From that point, Cotto went on to have a Hall of Fame boxing career. Maybe, just maybe the same thing can happen for Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga.