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What’s next for Edgar Berlanga?

Image: What’s next for Edgar Berlanga?

By Alex Fesl: Following the recent news of undefeated Puerto Rican boxer Edgar Berlanga parting ways with Top Rank, he now finds himself at a crossroads in his young career.

At 20-0 with 16 knockouts, Belanga was becoming a fixture on ESPN’s Top Rank cards over the past few years. He rattled off an impressive sixteen straight first round knockouts.

The hype was at an all-time high. ESPN would often foolishly compare Berlanga to legendary Puerto Rican fighters Miguel Cotto and Felix Trinidad. ESPN would proclaim, “Is Berlanga the next …?!!!”.

Yet after Berlanga’s past four opponents, we have seen the end of the knockout streak, as well as a few very lackluster fights.

Wins over Demond Nicholson, Marcelo Esteban Coceres, Steve Rolls, and Roamer Alexis Angulo represented a noticeable step up in competition for Berlanga, but he often struggled and seemed to lack his once devastating knockout power.

With that said, at only 25 years of age, Berlanga can still turn his career around and bring back the excitement he once had.

Potential Options for Berlanga

New trainers:
After reviewing some of Berlanga’s past few fights, it seemed like he had lost his identity as a fighter. He would come forward with pressure but fail to cut off the ring. He would go on the defense and circle the ring unnecessarily. He didn’t really have a game plan in any of his fights.

It seemed like he expected an early knockout, and when it didn’t
happen, he was lost mentally. Berlanga needs a fresh start with
quality trainers.

Sign with PBC:
Now that Berlanga is a free agent, if he wants to make some noise in the 168 lb division, signing with PBC is the best option. David Benavidez, Caleb Plant, Demetrius Andrade, and David Morrell are all under the PBC umbrella and ready for big fights. Berlanga may not be ready for any of those fighters now, but those fights can always materialize in the future.

Move up to 175 lbs:
The light heavyweight division doesn’t have much other than Bivol and Beterbiev. Berlanga would probably fare better in this division than at super middleweight. The elite fighters at 168 would school Berlanga right now. He still needs a lot of work to beat or even be competitive with the elite. He can develop more at 175 lbs and remain under the radar until he is ready for a step up.

Stay away from Oscar De La Hoya:
Oscar and Golden Boy have arguably been mishandling and stalling the careers of several fighters lately, including Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, Virgil Ortiz, Jaime Munguía, and Ryan Garcia, in my opinion. It’s probably best to avoid that promotional
team if he wants his career to progress meaningfully.

Careful matchmaking:
Berlanga should stay clear of any elite fighters or belt holders
between 168-175 lbs. A knockout loss or embarrassing defeat will
completely derail his career. Good potential opponents for Berlanga include: Daniel Jacobs, Gabriel Rosado, Jose Uzcategui, and Shane Mosley Jr.

Who should Berlanga fight next? Do you see Berlanga winning a title in the near future?

Have we already seen the best of Berlanga? Let me know in the comments.

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