Whenever there are two Mexican fighters in the ring together, be they young up and comers, journeymen, past their best former champions, or at their peak current world champions, we all know we will see a real fight; a special fight. This is simply the way Mexican fighters are, the cloth they are cut from. Last night, inside a “bubble” in Las Vegas, Vegas the scene of so many great wars involving Mexican stars, 130-pound Mexican warriors Oscar Valdez and Miguel Berchelt gave the sport a fight that was universally expected to be special. In the end, last night’s fight gave us more than we had anticipated.
Everyone was expecting a great fight, yet defending WBC super-featherweight champ Berchelt was a pretty overwhelming favorite to win – both at the bookmakers (Berchelt being listed as a 4:1 fave) and with the pundits and fellow fighters: Ring Magazine’s poll of 20 experts saw Berchelt get the pre-fight nod by an 18-1-1 margin, with only Michael Montero picking Valdez to win, this on points. So many people were picking Berchelt, the naturally bigger man, to KO former WBO 126 pound champion Valdez. Instead, we got a big upset. Added to the ingredients that will see to it that this fight will be remembered for some time, is the fact the Valdez scored a dead-cert of a candidate for KO of the Year. That left hook knockout was brutal and it was stunning.
Often after a great all-Mexican world title showdown, there is a huge call for a rematch, and then, if we’re really lucky, with the rematch seeing the other guy win, a rubber-match takes place. But though Valdez KO10 Berchelt was certainly a great action fight, Valdez won in such commanding fashion that a return may not be needed, or called for. Sure it could happen, and we’d all watch a Valdez-Berchelt II, but it really is tough to see how Berchelt, who was making the seventh defence of his title last night, can come back and get revenge over his faster, more naturally talented countryman.
Now a two-weight king, former amateur standout Valdez should be placed pretty high on everyone’s pound-for-pound lists. Valdez is a special fighter indeed. He’s shown astonishing toughness and heart in fights (a broken jaw, with blood squirting out of his mouth, failing to get the better of him in his fierce fight with Scott Quigg), and he has shown skill and cleverness. It will take someone incredibly special to defeat Valdez. The 30-year-old (who looks younger, not only facially but also from a freshness standpoint) is now 29-0(23) and he spoke of the possibility of fighting young star in the making Shakur Stevenson in the near future. That would be an interesting fight, and boy, would we find out what Stevenson is made of if he took the fight.
Valdez had just one fight last year (this a stoppage win over Jayson Valez) but he figures to see more action than that here in 2021. He already has those ten rounds of warfare bringing out the best of Valdez.
As for Berchelt, he suffered a nasty knockout last night and he was taken to the hospital. Thankfully the 29-year-old was given the all-clear. Berchelt lost for just the second time in falling to 37-2(33) and he had not tasted defeat since way back in March of 2014. It could prove to be quite a hard road back for Berchelt. But rest assured, he will be back. It’s simply the Mexican way.