After all the anticipation, boxing fans will be treated to a mega-fight between two top Mexican fighters this weekend. In one corner will be the WBC super featherweight champion Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) and opposite him will be former WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs).
Boxing history has shown us that whenever two Mexican fighters are put into one ring, the result is usually a great war. We’ve seen in many times before. For example, who doesn’t remember the wars between Marco Antonio Barrera versus Erik Morales, Israel Vazquez versus Rafael Marquez and what about Morales versus the underrated Daniel Zaragoza? The list goes on, and to discuss all of the Mexican boxing wars would require writing an entire book. I don’t know which boxing wars I like better, Mexican vs. Mexican or Mexican vs. Puerto Rican, but all I know is that either one is always exciting to see.
What makes Top Rank’s Berchelt-Valdez event even better is undercard. We will get to see the very young undefeated welterweight Xander Zayas, whom many have been buzzing about in the past year. Zayas has an eleven-year amateur career with over 130 fights. Yes, some say the amateurs is not the same as the professional game but this kid is proving that he’s ready to compete with the best in his division in the near future. Sometimes on mega fights such as Berchelt-Valdez, those who fight on the undercard end up becoming stars themselves. I suggest the hardcore fans keep a close eye on r Zayas, because this kid looks like a future star.
Also fighting on Saturday, let’s also not forget undefeated an Dominican who at 25 years of age has been giving us exciting knockouts. I am referring to Elvis Rodriguez (10-0-1, 10 KOs) who has Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach in his corner. We know southpaws seem to give orthodox fighters problems at least most of the time. Well this southpaw stands pretty tall plus he has a nice reach advantage and with his knockout power, he can also become a future boxing star. I enjoy watching him celebrate his wins as he plays air guitar looking somewhat like Elvis Presley… I can envision him playing a tune to Bachata after his next win!
Saturday’s co-feature fight could also steal the spotlight as Jayson Velez predicted in interview which I did with him recently. Those naysayers can say whatever they want about “La Maravilla” but win or lose Velez is always in an exciting fight. Many say that this could be the last big opportunity for the Puerto Rican which could be very well true yet we should not count him out. We just witnessed Richard Commey’s knockout win over promising Jackson Marinez, with boxing we just never know what will happen. It’s the beauty of the sport, it’s what keeps us tuned in, it’s why I at least have been following and covering the sport of boxing for many years.
Velez’s opponent, undefeated Gabriel Flores Jr. is clearly the favorite to win this fight. He can box, he moves well around that ring but his inexperience however is what some of us question. As Commey proved, sometimes the fighter with more experience, the guy who has fought the better opposition, ends up shocking those who are placing bets. We all know pretty much what type of fight Velez is going to do. The question is what type of fight is Flores going to fight? Will he stick to boxing or will he get into a slugfest like many Latino fighters tend to do?
As for the main event, nobody needs to hype it up. Both Berchelt and Valdez are warriors, and this is a fight many boxing fanatics have been anticipating-- including myself-- so thanks to Top Rank Boxing for making this happen.
Berchelt is the favorite and I picking him to win… yet the more I think about it, I don’t think it will be an easy night for “El Alacran.” I can see Valdez making it a tough fight for Berchelt, especially since he joined forces with his new trainer Eddy Reynoso. The guess here is that Reynoso will have converted Valdez into a more complete boxer, just like he made Saul “Canelo” Alvarez a much better boxer. Yes, Berchelt is the monster of the super featherweight division who many fighters don’t want to step into the ring with. Also, Berchelt is obviously the bigger man, but Valdez asked for this fight and despite being a small fighter, he’s always shown that he can fight and box.
Many of us are questioning Valdez’s jaw after seeing what happened in his exciting win over Scott Quigg in 2018. Valdez showed that he will continue to fight on no matter what, and his win over Quigg showed just how special of a fighter Valdez is. No one can teach a boxer how to recover from a broken jaw, yet Valdez did just that and won. Valdez’s broken-jaw performance proved his hunger, big heart and cojones!
As far as Berchelt goes, I see him being like The Terminator. He actually reminds me of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I know that those picking Valdez to win are bringing up Berchelt’s only loss which happened against Luis Florez in 2014 but once again I will remind those picking Valdez about Commey knocking out Marinez after Commey was knocked out by Teofimo Lopez. Berchelt has proven to be a true champion after suffering that single loss by capturing his WBC super featherweight title from Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas who is a similar fighter to Berchelt himself. I can also hear those picking Valdez to beat Berchelt due to the fact that after suffering his broken jaw he was able to knockout a bigger undefeated fighter named Carmine Tommasone. That win for Valdez was a good one but in boxing styles make fights and one thing for sure is that Tommasone is not “El Alacran.”
After all punches have been thrown, the winner will become the biggest Mexican fighter next to Canelo Alvarez. What I am most interested in is seeing if Berchelt can beat one of if not Mexico’s best fighter Julio Cesar Chavez’s mark of nine super featherweight title defenses. At the same time, I am curious to see if Valdez can once again prove to show his big heart by going through fire for perhaps twelve grueling rounds with a monster like Berchelt.
So how will this fight end? If it ends by knockout, the winner moves on to bigger fighters and more money. If it ends by decision, we could very well see a rematch, if not a trilogy as we’ve seen many times before between two Mexican warriors.
The only disappointment about this fight is that no fans will be allowed inside Top Rank’s “bubble” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.