Edgar Berlanga inspired by Puerto Rican greats Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto, just don’t ask who would have won a dream fight between them

Super-middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga has spoken about being inspired by Puerto Rican greats who have gone before him.

Born in New York to Puerto Rican parents, Berlanga fights Belfast’s Padraig McCrory at Caribe Royal in Florida next week, hoping to improve to 22-0 in his pursuit of a big fight with Canelo Alvarez.

The 26-year-old, nicknamed ‘The Chosen One’, has always spoke of his respect and appreciation for the brilliant Hall of Famer Felix Trinidad. 

“It was the excitement and then it was his charisma,” Berlanga said, of what drew him to the ferocious punching Trinidad. “It was definitely his charisma, and his fight game, and it played a major part in my life, and I feel like it made me the fighter that I am today. I feel like I’ve got power, I’ve got a crazy fight game, but then I’ve got charisma, where the people love me and are drawn to me.”

Berlanga meets McCrory next Saturday (February 24), on the back of five consecutive decision victories. In his last fight, in June, he defeated Jason Quigley in Madison Square Garden’s Theater.

McCrory is 18-0, but Berlanga is focused and keen to emulate the island’s greats.  

Of Trinidad, Berlanga continued: “I loved it when he fought [Fernando] Vargas (12th round stoppage win in 2000). That was a big, big fight, because it was Mexico versus Puerto Rico, Vargas was young, hungry, and Trinidad was young and hungry and it was something crazy. 

“Vargas was that Mexican star and it wasn’t just the fight, it was like… the build-up to that fight was dope. If you watch it and watch it, it likes damn. That’s what boxing is. Regardless of how it went down as a fight, I respect both fighters, I just loved the anticipation of that fight. It was just crazy.”

But after Trinidad walked away following a loss to Winky Wright in 2005 and one to Roy Jones in 2008, Berlanga’s attention had switched to another exciting star in Miguel Cotto.

“Yeah, 1,000 per cent,” admitted Berlanga, of his respect and appreciation for Cotto. “It’s crazy because the first fight I watched was Trinidad and then Trinidad retired, then Cotto came on the scene and when he came on the scene I watched every Cotto fight. People talk about Trinidad, but Cotto was a big inspiration in my life, too, because when I was eight, nine-years-old, he was already becoming a star in the sport and the face of Puerto Rico. 

“So when he came up I was watching all of his fights, when he was fighting in Puerto Rico… fighting Shane Mosley… When he fought Zab Judah I was there, I watched that when I was like nine-years-old, I went to The Garden.”  

Trinidad retired with a 42-3 (35 KOs) record, while Cotto was 41-6 with 33 stoppages.

If Berlanga could have seen a fight between two stars who moved through the weights but were both a force at 147lbs, who would he have picked in a welterweight collision between them?

Berlanga smiled, his mind clearly not on McCrory but on the dream scenario.

“I’ve got to pass on that,” he laughed. “Just know that fight is not going the distance, you hear me. I don’t know who’s going to win, but that fight won’t go the distance. That’s crazy, Cotto versus Trinidad, they would need two stadiums [for all of the fans in Puerto Rico].”