By Jeff Aronow: Miguel ‘El Alacran’ Berchelt will be going to war with Oscar Valdez on February 20th in defending his WBC super featherweight title on ESPN from ‘The Bubble’in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fight fans outside the US can watch the fight LIVE on FITE TV (click here).
Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) says he will be giving former WBO featherweight champion Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs) “a poison that has no cure” when they meet on February 20th.
Top Rank has held off making the Berchelt-Valdez for the last nine years, but they’re finally making a move.
It’s a wise decision on their part, considering that Valdez has looked really shaky since getting badly hurt in his fight against Colombian slugger Miguel Marriaga in 2017.
If Top Rank didn’t make the fight between Valdez and Berchelt now while there’s still interest in the match-up, it would be too late after someone beats Oscar.
Valdez will need to walk through fire
“We see the flaws, but you got to go through fire to get to that chin,” said Andre Ward to ESPN about Miguel Berchelt having flaws. “You got to go through that kind of offensive firepower to get to the flaws.
“A lot of people can’t deal with that, man. A lot of people can’t make those kinds of adjustments and think on the fly and make that strategy change like you’re supposed to in the heat of the moment, and then you look up, and the fight is over.
“It’s like, ‘They told me this dude was flawed, and he makes a bunch of mistakes, but how did I get knocked out? A master boxer,” Ward said in what it will take to beat Berchelt,” said Ward.
For the shorter fighter Valdez to have any chance of winning the fight, he’s going to have to go after Berchelt and out-punch him.
If Valdez stays on the outside, Berchelt will use his longer reach to jab him all night as he did in his first fight against Francisco Vargas in 2017.
Ward: You can’t be cute with Berchelt
“It’s going to take someone that is physically strong and can take a good shot,” said Ward in the criteria that it’ll take for someone to defeat Berchelt.
“You’re not just going to be cute with Berchelt. You talk a lot about offensive being a defense in boxing.
“Berchelt is not a defensive specialist by any means, but his offense allows him to not get hit sometimes; maybe sometimes he should because his chin is in the air, and maybe his head is out of position.
“He just has a lot of offensive prowess and the type of angles that he throws his shots with, and the power that he lands with.
“We can hear those shots ringside to the head and body,” Ward said about Berchelt’s power punches.
“A master boxer, a really good technical fighter to be able to compete with Berchelt,” said Tim Bradley. “You’re going to have to be able to absorb some punishment.”
Ward is right about the need for Berchelt’s opponents not to play it “cute” with him because you’re not going to beat him by boxing.
Valdez will have to go back to the old slugging style he employed earlier in his career before he met up with Marriaga to beat Berchelt.
Valdez’s trainer Eddy Reynoso will likely be trying to get him to box Berchelt, and that’s not going to work. It’ll just delay the inevitable for Valdez if he turns it into a jabbing battle.