By Dan Ambrose: Tim Bradley says he saw mental flaws in the game of super middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga last Saturday night in his questionable 10-round unanimous decision victory over the long-in-the-tooth 38-year-old Alexis Angulo at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Bradley says he thought the fight should have been scored a 10-round draw, but the judges gave the home fighter Berlanga (20-0, 16 KOs) a wide victory by the scores 98-92, 99-91, and 99-91.
Boxing fans on social media largely had Angulo (27-3, 23 KOs) winning, and the ones that didn’t saw it as a draw.
For the Top Rank promoted 25-year-old Berlanga, it was his fourth consecutive lackluster performance after starting his career with 16 consecutive first-round knockout wins.
It’s pretty obvious now that Berlanga isn’t the fighter that boxing fans initially thought he was, and that they were fooled by the cannon fodder that was fed to the New Yorker to reel off his first 16 knockout wins.
Since being stepped up against bottom fringe level opposition in 2021, Berlanga has looked terrible in each fight.
At this point, Top Rank might want to start thinking about an exit strategy with Berlanga if he doesn’t show improvement soon.
There’s no point in keeping dead weight in their stable of fighters if they’ve got a guy that isn’t progressing and doesn’t have the ability to capture a world title.
The way Berlanga has looked, he’s likely never going to improve enough to capture a world title unless he’s put in a perfect situation facing a paper champion or battling for a vacant belt against a contender with an inflated ranking.
Berlanga forced to show new wrinkle
“It looked like Angulo was the aggressor all night, and had Berlanga boxing off the back foot, using his jab, quickness,” said Tim Bradley to Fighthype on last Saturday’s fight between Edgar Berlanga and Alexis Angulo.
“I thought it was going to be a draw, to be honest with you, but I’m not a judge, I didn’t judge the fight. Berlanga won the fight. I don’t think anybody was impressed,” Bradley continued.
“What I was impressed was with that he [Berlanga] was forced to show a different wrinkle. He was forced to box, he was forced to box the best way he knew how or guess how he was taught to prepare for this fight.
“He wasn’t loading up with shots, he was letting his hands go in spots, not enough, but in spots,” Bradley said about the 25-year-old Berlanga. “I feel he needs to work on his conditioning.
“I still feel his concentration lacks a bit, and he needs to get a little bit more on his jab. He needs to go down to the body more as well.
“It’s all about timing. It almost seems like he doesn’t know when to do the right thing in spots. He doesn’t know when to step to the guy, and he doesn’t know when he has a guy off balance to attack him,” said Bradley.
Berlanga was boxing, but he was backing up, and almost running from a 38-year-old fighter that had been obliterated by then 24-year-old David Benavidez in 2020.
The difference in the way Benavidez looked against Angulo and Berlanga was huge. This is a guy that Berlanga should have been able to easily handle by staying in the pocket, as Benavidez did, but instead, he was forced to run from him.
Bradley remarked during the fight that if Berlanga had stayed in the pocket with Angulo the entire fight, he thinks he would have lost.
Bradley says Edgar lacks conditioning
“I seen him exit the corner, and he had a clear shot to land a punch, and he doesn’t,” said Bradley about Berlanga. “I think that has to do with a lack of conditioning, to be honest.
“So if you lack conditioning, you’re going to lack it up here [brain] because when you’re tired, all you want to do is get out and retreat.
“When you do have the energy and conditioning, you know you’re going to get out and you’re going to counter. You’re going to have a plan A, plan B, and also a plan C. So whatever is going on, you’re going to be able to react to it.
“I felt he moved forward as far as showing something different,” Bradley conditioned about Berlanga. “We were all complaining, ‘Ah, he’s just a puncher first, no footwork, no this and no that.’
“Yes, he didn’t have the best footwork, and no, he didn’t have the best combinations. He wasn’t the best mover or slickster, but at least he did it. He was forced to do it, and he did it. I give him credit for that.
“Like I said up there when I shoot, I don’t miss, and I can see when a guy is special in which direction he’s headed based on his fundamentals and what he knows and what he knows,” said Bradley.
If it’s mainly conditioning that Berlanga needs work on, he has some hope, but I’m not sure that’s his real problem.
He looks flawed in every facet of his game, and it’s going to require a lot more than building up his conditioning for him to improve enough to win a world title.
Berlanga’s flaws are mental
“Edgar, I think he has a lot of experience, but what’s wrong with Edgar is mentally. It’s all here, dude. This could be too much for him,” said Bradley.
“Yeah, I think that does,” said Bradley when asked if Berlanga’s sixteen consecutive first-round knockouts and all the celebrities that surround him have done something to his head.
“Mark told me that he gets fueled off of that and it fills his ego. I’m like, ‘It fills your ego, but what about your skills?’ It’s almost like his skill set is being frozen, and that’s the biggest issue.
“Tonight, we saw a new wrinkle. He boxed a little off the back foot, and I understand, he [Angulo] has been a pro for a very long time.
“Everybody has their due date to be great, but tonight was a small progression as far as the boxing goes, but as far as the entertainment value, I didn’t think he [Berlanga] was entertaining at all,” said Bradley in expressing disappointment over Berlanga’s performance against the 38-year-old Angulo.