By Jim Maltzman: Negotiations have started for a fight between WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez or November 7 on ESPN.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is reportedly working on putting together the fight between his two guys, according to Lance Pugmire.
Arum has a verbal deal between ‘El Alacran’ Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) and Valdez
(28-0, 22 KOs) KOs). The date for the fight could change, but it’s still expected to take place in November.
Oscar Valdez not being given a chance
Other fights that Arum has in the works is WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford vs. Kell Brook for November and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder for December.
Not too many boxing fans are giving the 29-year-old former WBO featherweight champion Valdez much of a chance against Berchelt, as he’s only fought twice at 30 since moving up to the weight class in November 2019, and he hasn’t performed well.
The two-time Olympian Valdez hasn’t shined in struggling to Jayson Velez and Adam Lopez after moving up to super featherweight last year.
Valdez was a lot better fighter when he fought at 126, and he also hasn’t performed at the same level since his fight with KO artist Miguel Marriaga in 2017.
The talented Valdez’s punch resistance hasn’t been the same since that fight, but he’s been able to continue to win due to his incredible talent. Berchelt is a different type of animal and someone that Valdez won’t be able to beat unless he can stay out of the way of his power shots.
Berchelt will be hard to beat
“Bob Arum/Top Rank planning a steady stream of major fights on ESPN to help fill likely college football vacancies.
“Arum tells me he has a verbal deal in place with WBC 130-pound champ Alacran Berchelt and is “zeroing in on” Oscar Valdez for them to fight as soon as Nov. 7.
“That’s not a set date by any stretch yet. But it could happen by early November, Arum said, and he wants to follow it with Crawford (if he likely fights Brook in the U.S.) and Ramirez-Taylor in December, all on ESPN, with his only PPV being Tyson Fury – BronzeBomber 3,” said @pugboxing.
Valdez is going to have to come up with a better strategy at beating Berchelt than what we’ve seen from him in his last couple of fights. He’s getting hit too much, and he’s struggling against fighters that he should be defeated with ease.
It would be a better idea for Top Rank to give Valdez more time to get used to fighting at super featherweight before putting him in with the 28-year-old Berchelt.
The only guy that is being given any chance of beating Berchelt at 130 right now is Shakur Stevenson, but he’s at least a year away from being put in with him. Another fighter that could potentially give Berchelt issues is Gervonta’ Tank’ Davis, who will be returning to the division soon to challenge WBA Super World super featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz on October 24.
However, Tank Davis (23-0, 20 KOs) isn’t expected to stay at 130 beyond the fight with Santa Cruz. However, even if Gervonta did remain in the division, his promoters at Mayweather Promotions wouldn’t let him fight Berchelt due to the politics of boxing and their general avoidance of risk when it comes to matching their fighters.
Miguel in another world
Right now, Berchelt is looking like the best fighter at super featherweight, and it’s going to require a unique game plan for Valdez to beat him. Valdez boxed well in the second half of his grueling fight against Scott Quigg in 2018 after he suffered a broken jaw.
If Valdez box smart against Berchelt the entire 12 rounds, he’ll have a shot at beating him. It still won’t be easy, but he might be able to pull off the upset if he fights that way.
Valdez needs to forget about slugging with Berchelt because he doesn’t have the size, work rate, or the chin to battle him in that type of contest.
Berchelt has looked unbeatable in his last seven fights, outclassing and destroying his competition with ease. In his previous battle, he defeated an over-matched Eleazar Valenzuela by a sixth-round TKO on June 27 in a stay busy fight.
In other wins in the last two years, Berchelt has beaten these fighters:
- Jason Sosa – KO 4
- Francisco Vargas – RTD 6
- Miguel ‘Jonathan Victor Barros – TKO 4
- Maxwell Awuku – TKO 3
- Mickey’ Roman – TKO 9
It would be a shame if Berchelt never gets a chance to fight guys like Tank Davis, Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, and Teofimo Lopez. Top Rank needs to move Berchelt up to 135 soon because he’s going to run out of competition promptly at 130 after he faces Valdez, Stevenson, and Vasily Lomachenko.
Top Rank will probably let the aging Lomachenko fight Berchelt soon, but that could be the end of the line for Miguel at 130 in terms of substantial competition.
Can Oscar keep improving?
Arum and his fellow workers at Top Rank may have concluded that this is as good as it gets with Valdez, and it may not benefit him if they wait a year or two before letting him face Berchelt.
It would be suitable for Valdez to work hard with his trainer Eddy Reynoso on his defense so that he doesn’t get hit as much by Berchelt as he did in his fights against Scott Quigg, Genesis Servania, Lopez and Velez.
Valdez has got talent on offense, but he’ll need a lot of work on his defensive side of the game for him to beat Berchelt.
Oscar has a lot of bad habits that he needs to unlearn for him to beat a talented guy like Berchelt, and I just don’t know that he can do it in this short period of time.