Tim Bradley didn’t like what he saw of former WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (38-3, 34 KOs) in watching him get stopped by Jeremiah Nakathilia (23-2, 19 KOs) in the sixth round last Saturday night in the main event at the Resorts World Las Vegas.
Bradley feels that the 30-year-old Berchelt exhibited signs of a fighter that is “gunshy” and a mere “shell of himself” after his 10th round knockout loss to Oscar Valdez last year in February 2021.
Berchelt mostly circled around the ring, throwing jabs and trying to keep out of harm’s way of Nakathila’s big shots. The movement didn’t work for Berchelt, as he was dropped by a jab in the third round, and has his mouthpiece knocked out by Nakathilia in the sixth.
Berchelt was badly hurt from that shot and staggered back to his corner at the end of the round 30 seconds later. After the round ended, referee Russell Mora walked over to Berchelt’s corner and stopped the fight.
In hindsight, it wasn’t a good idea for Berchelt’s promoter to match him against a huge puncher like Nakathilia with him coming off a tenth-round knockout loss to Oscar Valdez and a thirteen-month layoff.
Nakathilia is a bigger puncher than Valdez, and he might be the hardest hitter in the 130-lb division. It wouldn’t have been a big deal for Berchelt to fight Nakathilia if he had the defensive skills of Shakur Stevenson. Obviously, Berchelt isn’t a great defensive artist, and he’s struggled even during the prime of his career when facing punchers.
“Yeah, he definitely was a shell of himself. At the fighter meeting, I knew something wasn’t right. I asked him and his trainer, What was the test during training camp?’ Because I’ve been in a situation similar to his,” said Tim Bradley to Fighthype about Miguel Berchelt.
“He [Berchelt] should have got tested before he got in there because I saw a guy that was gunshy inside the ring,” said Bradley about Berchelt looking afraid to pull the trigger against Nakathilia.
Berchelt is still the same fighter he was, but he was never going to do good against fighters like Valdez and Nakathila. When you look at Berchelt’s resume, he doesn’t have a lot of solid wins over guys that could exist as major players at 130 or 135.
Berchelt struggled against Takeshi Miura in 2017, who is a similar fighter to Nakathilia but with less power, and he had problems with Francisco Vargas & Miguel ‘Mickey’ Roman.
Vargas had already been softened up for Berchelt by Orlando Salido, and he wasn’t the same guy he’d been. Berchelt was never a great fighter.
“I saw a guy that was a little bit confused as far as how to be because a little bit of his nature was probably taken away because he was trying to be a little bit more economical and defensive with his approach because he didn’t want to get hit,” Bradley continued about Berchelt.
“I said during the broadcast that mentally it affects you. Not only mentally but physically. When he got hit with that jab and he went down right on the chin, that right there told me so,” Bradley said about Berchelt getting dropped from a jab in the third round from Nakathila.
“His legs never looked great at all. He never looked like his legs were stabilized. He was always walking on eggshells, and that’s Berchelt. At the end of the round, when he would go back to his corner, I was like, ‘Oh my God, someone needs to step up and stop this action,’ because he’s taking some big shots and Nakathila is a big, big puncher.
“I also said that if he can get past Nakathila’s punching power, that right hand, then he can possibly do something in this division . Obviously, that didn’t happen tonight. I would advise, and only he knows his body, based on what I saw tonight, a shell of himself now.
“The Oscar Valdez fight probably ended his career, no doubt about it,’ said Bradley about Berchelt.
“I had a Fight of the Year against Ruslan Provodnikov [in 2013], and took a lot of punishment in that fight, some big shots,” said Bradley. “I knew mentally I wasn’t the same. I was unsure of myself whether I could take a punch, taking that many shots during the course of a fight.
“What my trainer did at the time, Joel Diaz, was put me in the ring in my first day in the gym against Lucas Matthysse, a big puncher. He’s like, ‘You’re either going to sink or you’re going to swim. Depending on how you look today, we’re going to take the [Juan Manuel] Marquez fight or not, depending on how you look. If you look gunshy, whatever it is, you can’t take a punch, then we’re not going to take the fight because I care about your health.’
“I got in the ring, I wasn’t spooked at all, and I fought the best I possibly could. I was out of shape. Matthysse did his thing, and after that, he [Joel] said, ‘We’re ready.’ because I was in there with a big puncher and he wanted to see how I reacted to it.
“You don’t want to wait until you get here to see how your fighter reacts. You got to test them in the gym. We always hear that fights are won in the gym. That’s true. They’re all won inside the gym in how you prepare for things,” said Bradley.