By Jim Calfa: Former WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt is taking on the hard-hitting Jeremiah Nakathila this Saturday night in a contest in the lightweight division.
This is a dangerous fight for Berchelt in taking on the knockout artist Nakathila (22-2, 18 KOs) because he’s got better power than Oscar Valdez, and he might be the biggest puncher in the super featherweight division today.
Shakur Stevenson had the worst performance of his career last June against Nakathilia in winning a dull 12 round decision.
Stevenson initially tried to punch with Nakathilia, but after getting stunned by a hard shot in the fourth, he went into defensive mode and stayed there for the remainder of the fight.
Berchelt has a lot of talent, but the question is whether his power will carry up to the 135-lb division. He was viewed as the #1 fighter at super featherweight from 2017 to 2021.
But in Berchelt’s last fight against Oscar Valdez in February 2021, he looked drained, weak, and not the fighter he’d been during his best years.
By moving up in weight to 135, Berchelt hopes to dethrone four-belt lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr to become a two-division world champion.
Unfortunately for Berchelt, he might not get to Kambosos before he loses his titles to WBC champion Devin Haney on June 5th.
Kambosos is considered a vulnerable champion, and there’s a good chance if he doesn’t lose to Haney, he’ll get beaten by Ryan Garcia or Vasyl Lomachenko.
Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) is coming off a 13-month layoff since losing his WBC 130-lb title in the 10th round knockout defeat against Oscar Valdez.
This is the 30-year-old Berchelt’s debut in the lightweight division in a 10 round contest at the Resorts World Las Vegas. The event will be shown on ESPN & ESPN Deportes at 10:00 p.m. ET.
Kambosos on Berchelt’s radar
“Well, I want the [George] Kambosos fight because he has all the titles. I want to become the second undisputed Mexican champion,” said Miguel Berchelt to Fight Hub TV about him wanting to follow in Canelo Alvarez’s footsteps.
“Yeah, I think so. I’d love that fight,” said Berchelt when asked if he thinks he can beat Kambosos. “If you were to ask me one man I’d like to fight, it would be Kambosos. I want to show I’m ready for great things. I want to have all four belts.
“Actually, five belts with the Ring Magazine belt. So imagine that picture and become the second undisputed Mexican champion. It would be historical.
“Look, there are things that money can’t buy, like love from the people, respect, and admiration. Money can buy temporary things that make you happy. But respect and love from the people that’s something that not everyone has.
“We have one that’s Canelo Alvarez that we have to be proud of. He’s in a division that a Mexican has never reigned [super middleweight], he’s done big things,” Berchelt continued.
“A lot of fans feel he’s better than [Julio Cesar] Chavez Sr, and many say, ‘No.’ But he’s making his own history, and the numbers will show. Chavez was never an undisputed champion and never won titles in as many divisions as Canelo.
“History is there, and the numbers are there. At the end of his career, we will see who is greater.
“Well, I’m very happy and calm,” said Berchelt. “A new city, new trainer, a new division. I feel born again; the fire in my heart is burning again.
“I’m very hungry to be a world champion again, and people want to see me like a champ again. Even though I don’t have a belt, people see me as a champion.
“They know what type of fights I give and what I’m made of and what I have inside my heart will take me to another title. God knows our feelings, and I’m working so hard to win another world title. That’s on my mind the most.
“I want to return and fight for the world title and hear, ‘And the NEW’ once more because I know I can achieve it,” said Berchelt.
Berchelt wants Valdez to beat Stevenson
Well, Stevenson is a great fighter, but regardless of what happened between me and Oscar [Valdez] in our fight, I’m rooting for the Mexican,” said Berchelt.
“This flag means a lot to us. We always want a Mexican to lift it in victory, and we are proud of it. But Shakur started the mind games already.
“He told him that liars never win, and let’s see, we wait for the fight. Shakur is a great fighter who comes from featherweight. At super featherweight, he beat [WBO champion Jamel] Herring.
“So, let’s see how this fight goes. Shakur is the big favorite due to his style. He’s fast; he boxes and doesn’t go forward. Oscar is more of a one-punch style, but let’s see what happens.