You’ve got that buzz right now. That extra-special buzz only a fight fan can get. It is fight day, and we are just hours away from a special one. It’s not quite the same, as you won’t be going to take a seat in Las Vegas to watch 130-pound Mexican warriors Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez slug it out (the coronavirus has seen to that, tonight’s anticipated classic to take place inside the “bubble,” with no fans permitted) – but you sure as heck will be tuning in to watch the warfare unfold on TV. Expectations are very high ahead of the super-featherweight title fight, yet these expectations are likely to be lived up to.
Promoter Bob Arum, who spoke with top scribe Michael Woods, is himself predicting a classic – and as he said to Woods, this has nothing to do with his job as a boxing promoter. Arum doesn’t need to sell this one, he’s practically giving it away. No pay-per-view, no expensive ringside seats. All Arum wants, and can expect, is a high rating on ESPN. Arum says WBC boss Mauricio Sulaiman has told him how “everyone is talking about it in Mexico,” that tonight’s fight has the Mexican people strolling down memory lane and recalling the great days when their hero of heroes, Julio Cesar Chavez was fighting.
Arum is certain that, were this “three months later, [Berchelt vs. Valdez] is in a sold-out Staples Center,” and as such he will be watching tonight’s fight, “with tears in my eyes.” Arum is not trying to hype the fight, he has zero need to do so. Instead, the Top Rank boss is speaking as a life-long fight fan. Arum goes as far as to suggest tonight’s fight might develop into a classic worthy of comparison with the first sensational Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales war.
“This thing is gonna be a classic,” Arum said of tonight’s 130-pound battle. “I’m gonna be watching with tears in my eyes, knowing that if this is three months later, it’s in a sold-out Staples Center. For example, coming into Erik Morales Vs. Marco Antonio Barrera, I knew it would be a terrific fight. Admittedly, I didn’t know it would be as good as it turned out to be. But there’s no question about it. I’m the promoter, but I’m not selling this to the public, it’s free. Mauricio Sulaiman called me, and told me that everyone is talking about it in Mexico. It’s like when Julio Cesar Chavez Sr was fighting…….this is gonna be really big.”
If we get a fight half as special as the unforgettable one that took place 22 years ago yesterday, also in Las Vegas, we will be more than happy. But there is a tantalising thought that maybe, just maybe, tonight’s warfare will result in a slugfest that is even more action-packed than that all-Mexican showdown turned out to be. Maybe this is going too far, but we’ll soon see. Arum added that tonight’s fight will be the final “bubble” show, that with adequate testing, future fights will again have spectators. “I think we’re getting the virus under control,” he said.
If this is the case, it’s time to enjoy the final “freebie” in a series of excellent fights Arum has promoted over the last few months. And what a free fight we have in store with Berchelt Vs. Valdez!