It is Edgar Berlanga’s first fight with Matchroom Boxing since leaving his original promoter, Top Rank Inc., as he returns June 24th, against Jason Quigley, live on DAZN, from The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
Berlanga became a break-out star during the COVID-19 pandemic as he fought many times during the Top Rank bubble his incredible sixteen-fight first-round knockout streak endeared him to fans and celebrities. Most notably, rapper Lil’ Wayne publicly let the world know that he enjoyed watching Berlanga’s fights.
Since the pandemic, it has been an alternate universe for Berlanga, with four straight decision wins, one of which saw him get dropped by Marcelo Esteban Coceres. His last fight, against Roamer Alexis Angulo, was lackluster to put it politely, and saw Berlanga get fined and suspended by the NYSAC for attempting to bite Angulo’s shoulder.
Berlanga has called for Canelo Álvarez for some time, and given the relationship, his new promoter, Eddie Hearn, has with Canelo Álvarez, it could happen. That said, last week we heard strong rumors that Jermall Charlo, the current WBC middleweight world champion, is the front-runner to land that fight.
Let’s talk through some scenarios.
How It Could Happen
For Berlanga to fight Canelo next a slew of things would have to work in his favor. First, Berlanga needs to stop Quigley which is easier said than done, given his previous performances entering this bout. The dream scenario would be a first-round KO which would look as though he has rekindled the magic he once had to start his career. That could cause some to believe that Berlanga might be a viable threat to Canelo
Now, he will also need to produce a big number in terms of the live gate for this fight against Quigley as not just does his performance have to stack up, but the money has to as well. With Badou Jack taking to Twitter this weekend to say he won’t be fighting Canelo Álvarez, David Benavidez seemingly out of the running for a Canelo Álvarez fight, and David Morrell never being mentioned, it seems barring something weird we now have two options; 1) Jermall Charlo, and 2) Edgar Berlanga.
That said, Berlanga needs to hit a grand slam this fight week for this to even be possible. From amazing interviews to a lively atmosphere on fight night to a superstar performance, for Berlanga to skip the line - he needs to make it into pop culture and move the needle. Berlanga has the capabilities of that as his Fat Joe is at all of his fights, and New York celebrities love coming out for Berlanga, but just because you look like a star, doesn’t mean you are a star.
Berlanga has a chance to pull off the unthinkable as he sits in a prospect/contender spot in the sport, but could land the biggest fight in the sport currently, but for that to happen he has to do something incredible and have some great post-fight comments that could move the needle.
As Berlanga is a Puerto Rican fighter, it would be a classic Mexico versus Puerto Rico rivalry in theory, if he fought Canelo, the bout would be more spectacle and for it to happen Berlanga needs to be every bit of excitement as a summer blockbuster movie.
Nothing less than that will be acceptable to even think of getting into that fight.
Why It Won’t
This is a very hard sell if the performance doesn’t match up. Charlo is a legitimate world champion and despite being out of the ring for two years is proven at the world-class level. Berlanga has not fought for a world title and has also looked to hit a developmental wall currently at the contender status. Most feel there is room for him to grow, but Berlanga needs to show it.
If the fight doesn’t happen it would simply be based on accolades. Berlanga hasn’t achieved enough to face a pound-for-pound level fighter on pay-per-view, just yet. As rumors of Maciej Sulęcki, being a potential Berlanga opponent in the fall, it appears that could very well be the plan.
The big thing in this fight will be numbers. Following the weigh-in numbers, engagements for interviews with marquee people, like The Breakfast Club, in New York City, New York, if Berlanga goes on these platforms and produces average numbers - that will not get it done.
It is simply unfathomable that he is in the position to land this fight, so to land it everything from an analytics standpoint has to be ridiculously high. The reason this fight won’t happen would be simple; it is a tough sell.
Canelo is coming off the worst stretch of his career; losing to Dmitry Bivol, a forgettable fight with Gennadiy Golovkin to conclude their trilogy that resembled Lethal Weapon 4 more than their previous two fights, and an unmemorable win over John Ryder in Mexico. The fans are screaming for a David Benavidez fight, and Canelo seemingly is uninterested. A fight against Berlanga could look very bad from a public relations standpoint, if Berlanga doesn’t look sensational.
The fight might not happen, because of the backlash and frustration from fight fans if it did happen.