Emanuel ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete, Christopher ‘Pitufo’ Diaz, Edgar Berlanga, and Demond Nicholson all made weight on Friday for Top Rank’s card on ESPN from the Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee, Florida.
(Credit: Mikey Williams (Top Rank via Getty Images)
WBO featherweight champion Navarrete (32-1, 27 KOs) came in at 126 pounds and looked good, if not a little thin at the weight.
Challenger Diaz (26-2, 16 KOs), who Top Rank also promotes, weighed in at 125.8lbs. Diaz is a slugger from Puerto Rico who has come up short in losses to Masayuki Ito and Shakur Stevenson.
Diaz, 26, has good punching power and a lot of talent, but he struggles when fighting opposition with top-notch boxing skills, as we observed in his losses to Ito and Shakur.
On Saturday, it’ll be the first time that Diaz has been matched against a slugger like himself, and it should be interesting to see how well he does against Navarrete.
Navarrete, 26, will be fighting for the third time since moving up in weight from the 122 lb division in 2020. Boxing fans wanted to see Top Rank match Navarrete against Stevenson, but they chose not to.
It’s understandable why these opted not to make this fight because they would have been wrecking one of their revenue streams.
The arguably more interesting fight on this card on Saturday is unbeaten super middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga (16-0, 17 KOs), who will be looking to continue his string of first-round stoppages against the capable Demond Nicholson (23-3-1, 20 KOs) in an eight-round fight.
Berlanga, 23, weighed in at 168.4 lbs and looked in great shape as always. The 28-year-old Nicholson weighed in at 168.2 lbs.
Full undercard weights for the Emanuel Navarrete vs. Christopher Diaz card:
- Willie Shaw (139.8 lbs vs. Josue Vargas 141.4 lbs – 10 rounds for the light welterweight division
- Jamaine Ortiz 136.2 pounds vs. Joseph Adorno 135.2 lbs – eight rounds lightweight
- Juan Antonio Lopez 128.4 lbs vs. Orlando Gonzalez 127.6 lbs – featherweight 8 rounds
- Demarcus Layton 146.2 lbs vs. Xander Zayas – welterweights eight rounds
- Ramiro Martinez 122.2 lbs vs. Jeremy Adorno 122 lbs – super bantamweight – 4 rounds
- Mobley Villegas 129.4 lbs vs. Jaycob Gomez 129 lbs – super featherweight – 4 rounds
Navarrete defends against Diaz
Berlanga looking forward to Canelo battle
“I’ve played that fight [against Canelo Alvarez] over 100 times in my head, of me and him fighting together,” Berlanga said to Yahoo Sports. “Like I said, he has a big fan base and I’m building my fan base.
“My fan base is going to be just as big as him. It’s bound to happen. I don’t see anything past that.
“For that fight to happen, he’s at the top right now. If he remains at the top, which he will, and I continue to win and bust my butt and win in [an exciting] fashion, that fight is going to come.
“It’s going to happen and it’s going to be worth a lot of money,” said Berlanga.
For Berlanga to have the same size fan base as Canelo, it’s going to take a lot of doing, and it may take years upon years for that to happen. It’s safe to say that by the time Berlanga does have a massive fan base, Canelo will be long retired.
Canelo, 30, is likely to be done with boxing in the next four to five years, and it might be even sooner depending on whether he gets beaten soundly.
Berlanga needs to start facing live bodies if he wants to build his fan base enough to where Canelo will give him a fight.
It’s troubling that Berlanga is still being matched against Ulises Sierra, Lanell Bellows, and Eric Moon.
Even his opponent for this Saturday, Demond Nicholson, is someone he should have been fighting in the first year of his career rather than in his fifth.
Based on the glacial pace that Berlanga is being moved by Top Rank, you have to say that his chances of getting a fight against Canelo before the Mexican star retires are virtually zero.
Berlanga won’t become popular in time for Canelo to fight him, and he’s not going to throw a bone at him for altruistic reasons. That’s not Canelo.
While he seems like a nice guy, you don’t see Canelo looking to help out young, dangerous fighters who could beat him. Hence, he’s not fought, David Benavidez or Dimitry Bivol.