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Miguel Berchelt vs. Oscar Valdez preview for Feb. 20th

Miguel Berchelt, Oscar Valdez boxing photo

By Dan Ambrose: Oscar Valdez is really going up against it on February 20th in challenging Miguel Berchelt for his WBC super featherweight title on ESPN and ESPN 3 at 7:00 p.m ET. Berchelt vs. Valdez will be taking place at The Bubble, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The unbeaten Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs) has got to raise his game if he doesn’t want to wind up as another stat on the impressive record of Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs).

The former WBO featherweight champion Valdez hasn’t looked like the same fighter since Miguel Marriaga hurt him in 2017. Valdez won that fight by a 12 round decision, but he was hurt by a big shot from Marriaga.

Ever since that fight, Valdez has struggled against Scott Quigg, Genesis Servania, and Adam Lopez. Given the way Valdez has looked, it’s a surprise that Top Rank is putting him in with Berchelt. It would be in their best interest to steer Valdez on a different course to keep him winning.

Berchelt is bad news for Valdez, and not just because of his talent. The size difference will be hard on Valdez because he’s not as big as Berchelt, and he’ll need to figure out how to land without getting pummeled.

Berchelt vs. Valdez = Best fight of 2021?

“The best fight of the early 2021 schedule, and we’re going to have it here on ESPN on February 20th. It’s Miguel Berchelt putting up his WBC title at 130 pounds against the undefeated former featherweight in Oscar Valdez,” said Joe Tessitore to Top Rank.

Miguel Berchelt, Oscar Valdez boxing photo

“Remember, this fight was originally supposed to be in December, but then in last November, a COVID 19 test for Berchelt.

“We saw another world champion at 130 pounds that had a positive COVID test, whose legs didn’t look so good in the late rounds in Jamel Herring. Do you feel this is a factor in this fight now that it’s rescheduled for February 20th?”

“As we all know, there are so many questions looming around COVID 19 and the effects of it,” said Andre Ward. “Some people seem to come back fast, and obviously, we had many, many deaths over the last 10 months.

“Some people do come back like Jamel. and they say they felt it ‘in my wind, My lungs weren’t quite the same.’ I hope that’s not the case.

“Berchelt Tweeted out that he went 12 rounds for the first time a week or so ago, and he seems to be ready.

“On paper, you have to favor Berchelt based on his last one or two performances from him and Oscar Valdez.

“But I’m not ready to write off a guy [Oscar Valdez] with a championship pedigree.

“I know he’s in between styles. He’s trying to figure out a style with Eddy Reynoso if he’s going to box if he’s going to slug.

“But a fighter with that kind of pedigree with Oscar Valdez, they always got a great fight in them. My question is, is that going to be against Miguel Berchelt?” said Ward.

Berchelt vs. Valdez could be the best fight of the year, but that will depend on if the match lasts long. With the way Berchelt, 29, is fighting right now, he might knockout Valdez early.

Valdez facing the King of 130-lb division

“I want to offer up this when we size up this fight. I believe there are certain fights and certain fighters that when you put them in the ring, you know exactly what it’s going to look like,” said Tessitore.

Miguel Berchelt, Oscar Valdez boxing photo

“This fight is as high a confidence as I can tout in knowing exactly what it’s going to look like.”

“Well, when you have two Mexican warriors because that’s what they are, two Mexican warriors, they’re going to be fighting for supremacy,” said Tim Bradley.

“They’re going to be fighting for Mexico. That’s what they’re going to be fighting for—the King of Mexico at 130-pounds, Berchelt – Valdez.

“But let me tell you this. Valdez, he had an issue. He moved up to this weight class, and guess who came to see him?

“It was Shakur Stevenson. Now he avoided Shakur Stevenson. He would have got peppered if he had fought Shakur Stevenson,” Bradley said about Valdez.

Oscar Valdez’s trainer Eddy Reynoso had better be working on his defense for this fight because he can’t slug with Berchelt and expect to last long.

This fight should have happened four years ago before Valdez met up with Marriaga. Before meeting with Marriaga, Valdez looked invincible with how he was going to war with his opponents and knocking them out.

Unfortunately, Valdez hasn’t looked like the same fighter ever since his war with Marriaga. The only fights where Valdez has looked good were his mismatches against these opponents:

  • Jayson Velez
  • Jason Sanchez
  • Carmine Tommasone

Bradley picking Berchelt by knockout

Now he’s going into the ring against the baddest 130 in the world, Berchelt. Now he could be damaged goods after this fight.

I’m letting you know right now. I’m picking a knockout win in this fight in Berchelt’s favor.

Let me go back to the fact of what you just said, Andre Ward. You said, ‘Hey, his last performances, he didn’t look too great,” said Bradly about Oscar Valdez.

“He didn’t [look great]. I saw a guy turning from a beat into a counter puncher. Now he’s fighting more off the back foot; now he’s trying to take his time and set up his shots.

“That’s not his style, and that’s what’s going to happen in this fight. He’s going to try and fight out at a distance and that’s going to be wrong for him.

“Berchelt is going to find him, and he’s going to hurt him, and he’s going to finish him badly. This could be a career-ending fight, I believe, for Oscar Valdez,” said Bradley.

With the kind of offensive firepower that Berchelt has, Valdez might not last long enough for him not to be the same fighter after.

He’s already had a fight where he’s not looked the same since his match against Marriaga. Whatever Berchelt will do likely won’t be any worse.

Ward giving Valdez a chance

“I’m not ready to say that,” said Ward about Valdez could be fighting for the last time in taking a beating against Berchelt.

“I see that, and I know it can happen, of course. Like I said, you got to favor Miguel Berchelt based on what you’ve seen in the last two fights from both guys, and I said that live on air.

“This Oscar Valdez won’t beat the Miguel Berchelt that we’re seeing right now, and I stand on that. But I’ve been around the game long enough to know that a fighter with that pedigree [Valdez], who has a good team in Eddy Reynoso.

“He’s around a great champion in Canelo Alvarez. Don’t underestimate a guy like this because he could have a night,” said Ward about Oscar Valdez.

If Valdez fights defensively as he did after being hurt by Scott Quigg early on, he’s got a chance of outboxing Berchelt. The boxing skills that Valdez showed in the Quigg fight were second to none.

It was like watching a completely different fighter than the one that had started the contest on his front foot, taking the fight to Quigg.

If Valdez can fight like that for the entire 12-round contest against Berchelt, he can beat him possibly.




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