By Jim Dower: Super middleweight knockout artist Edgar Berlanga (17-0, 16 KOs) is finalizing a 4-fight plan with ESPN that will lead to him getting a lot more visibility in the next 12 months that could result in his popularity surging.
The 24-year-old Berlanga is promoted by Top Rank, who are hoping to turn him into a superstar. Mike Coppinger reports that Berlanga’s manager Keith Connolly told ESPN that he Berlanga spoke to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and Top Rank president Todd duBoef
Manager Keith Connolly tells ESPN he and Edgar Berlanga FaceTimed yesterday with Top Rank chairman Bob Arum and his step-son, president Todd duBoef to finalize a four-fight deal that could be completed soon.
Top Rank has matched Berlanga well
Berlanga has made a name for himself on ESPN, thanks to the great match-making by Top Rank.
He’s gotten off to a quick start with his career, knocking out his first 16 opponents in the first round before being taken the eight round distance in his last fight against Demond Nicholson on April 24th.
Nicholson barely made it to the finish. If Berlanga had pushed a little harder, he would have stopped him as well, albeit not in the first round like his first 16 opponents.
There’s no word on what kind of opposition Berlanga will fight during his four-fight, 12-month deal with ESPN. For Berlanga to increase his popularity at a rapid rate during the next year, he’s going to need to fight opposition that boxing fans have heard of.
We haven’t seen Berlanga fight anyone that the average fan has heard of, and that’s the problem. Berlanga has been matched against fighters who lacked talent, which has helped him score many knockouts.
Is Berlanga ready to face better opposition?
For Berlanga to substantially increase his popularity in the next 12 months, he’s going to have to fight these types of fighters:
- Anthony Dirrell
- Gabe Rosado
- Callum Smith
- John Ryder
- Daniel Jacobs
- David Lemieux
- Carlos Gongora
- Bektemir Melikuziev
- Caleb Truax
- Jose Uzcategui
These are the type of fighters that will help increase Berlanga’s star power, as most of them are well known by U.S boxing fans. If Berlanga can’t beat those kinds of guys, he’ll be over his head if he takes on Canelo Alvarez, David Morrell Jr, or David Benavidez.
Berlanga is the same age as the 24-year-old former two-time WBC 168-lb champion Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs), but he’s so far behind him in terms of experience.
Benavidez has sparred against the best for years, and he went for it early in his career, capturing the WBC super middleweight title at the age of 20.
It helps when your management believes in you and is willing to put you in with the best so see what you can do. Berlanga hasn’t had that yet, so we’ll see if his management and promoters at Top Rank choose to put him in with quality opposition during his next four fights.