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Knockout king Edgar Berlanga vows to silence remaining doubters as he chases down records and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez


Berlanga is a problem at super-middleweight (Picture: Getty)

16 fights into his professional career and Edgar Berlanga is still to experience a second round of boxing.

The power-punching super-middleweight has knocked out every one of his unfortunate opponents in the first round to date and is chasing no17 this Saturday. It’s a frightening record that has him widely considered a world champion-in-waiting.

The 23-year-old is leaving behind mere prospect status and is rapidly approaching title contention. This week, Top Rank chief Bob Arum described a meeting between Berlanga and pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as this generation’s Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao.

Berlanga’s star quality is there. In his record, in the way he punches holes through those in his way – even in the suit and shades he wore in Thursday’s press conference ahead his bout against Demond Nicholson this weekend in Florida.  

Brooklyn-born and fighting proudly under the Puerto Rican flag, he is chasing down that status. Even if he admits there is still work to do.

Berlanga looked the part alongside Xander Zayas on Thursday (Picture: Top Rank/Getty)

‘I was born for this. To be a star,’ Berlanga told Metro.co.uk. ‘I had the charisma as a young kid growing up, I wore the shades, I was always flashy but I always remained humble. I knew the time would come and it is here now.

‘If I am putting the fear of God [into my opponents], it is better for me. Either way, I’m going in there and getting the job done whether or not he has fear in his heart or not.

‘For me, I have got to do what I’ve got to do and that is handle my business. That is what I have done for 16 fights and that is what I’m going to continue to do.’

Berlanga is chasing down the all-time first-round knockout record held by the late Ali Raymi, who recorded first-round wins in his first 21 bouts. Ahead of him are Tyrone Brunson with 19 and Edwin Valero with 18.

But questions remain of how he will react when he hears the second round bell and whether his aura of invincibility will be quite as strong. Berlanga is desperate for someone to pull him into that territory with years of work done behind the scenes with trainer Andre Rozier and his team still to be put to use.

Berlanga dropped Sierra three times in round one last December (Picture: Getty/Top Rank)

Nicholson is the latest man attempting to slow down the Berlanga train, vowing to take him to places he has never been to. Ulises Sierra and Lanell Bellows, two men who has never previously been stopped before stepping in with the destructive youngster, promised to do the same before going out on their back inside three minutes.

‘Right now, I feel like a lot of the critics are possibly doubting me. But I get it,’ he continued. ‘They haven’t seen me go past the first round so obviously there is a question mark over my head with a lot of things. If I can go the rounds. If I can dig deep if someone takes me to those deep waters and I can’t swim.

‘There are a lot of things, but I know and my team knows, I’ve been boxing for 16 years and they know I’m capable of doing everything.

Berlanga poses with his father after beating Sierra at the MGM Grand (Picture: Top Rank/Getty Images)

‘Some of these guys [I fought] had never been knocked out before and I did it in one round. For me man, Saturday I am going to be 100 per cent ready for whatever comes. We have worked extremely hard in camp for this fight and I’m ready for everything. I don’t have no fear in my heart. I will do what I do best.’

Canelo, the current WBA and WBC champion, remains a tantalising goal and the added spice of the Mexico vs Puerto Rico backdrop means it is a fight that cannot be ignored should Berlanga remain on his remarkable trajectory.

‘The puzzle is connected together perfectly,’ he said of the Canelo fight. ‘I just have to continue to win in a remarkable fashion and it is going to come.

Canelo vs Berlanga. Mexico vs Puerto Rico (Picture: Getty)

‘He’s a star, I’m a future superstar. For me, I’ve just got to continue to win, continue to grow my brand and build the image and continue to win, that’s the most important thing. Everything there cannot happen unless I keep winning. But if I keep winning, keep looking good and keep performing, man, that fight is there.’

Berlanga admits a title shot is unlikely to materialise in 2021 as he battles towards the title eliminator picture. Besides that, there are plenty more queuing up for the chance to dethrone the Mexican superstar with WBO king Billy Joe Saunders currently stood at the front – another star name Berlanga relishes the prospect of going to war with.

‘Billy Joe man, he is a phenomenal fighter. He has heart and he has his country behind him. That’s a big fight that can happen in the future, me and him.

‘Like I say, there is nothing better than having a country up against a country, that’s what generates a lot of money. And for me that’s important, everything is about winning and making that bag.’

He added: ‘This year we have just got to keep stepping up. I want to keep getting my feet wet and go rounds and get them under my belt. That way when that world title shot or that world title eliminator comes, we are going to be prepared.’


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