By Craig Daly: Edgar Berlanga has a lot of pressure on him tonight for his headliner against Ireland’s Jason Quigley. Berlanga-Quigley will be shown live on DAZN from Madison Square Garden in New York.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has faith in the unbeaten super middleweight contender Berlanga (20-0, 16 KOs), so he’s giving him a big step up in class and hoping that he can get through the fight without any hiccups.
If Berlanga loses this fight or looks bad, Hearn may regret signing him to his Matchroom stable.
It’s unclear how many fights Hearn is on the hook for with the contract he gave Berlanga, but it could be a disaster if he loses his first fight out of the gate.
This is the type of opponent that Berlanga must breeze through for him to be moved up against the guys that Hearn wants to match him with.
Hearn wants a “showroom knockout” from Berlanga against Quigley to help create buzz about his career to entice Canelo Alvarez to look his way.
With Canelo signing a three-fight deal with PBC, it probably won’t matter if Berlanga obliterates Quigley. He’s still not going to get a fight against Canelo anytime soon.
Many American fans can’t shake the visible image of Berlanga biting his last opponent Roamer Alexis Angulo last year.
The New York native Berlanga has got to make sure that there are no repeats of that incident if he gets frustrated for any reason.
If Quigley roughs him up, Berlanga needs to handle it differently by bringing it up to the referee instead of getting in the mud and resorting to payback.
Berlanga has a tough test
“I actually think this is a really tough fight for a couple of reasons. Firstly, this is Berlanga’s first fight in over 12 months. Secondly, Quigley’s bang up for it, right?” said Eddie Hearn to the DAZN Boxing Show about the Edgar Berlanga vs. Jason Quigley clash on Saturday.
If you’ve seen Berlanga’s last four fights, you have to see Quigley as being a dangerous option for him because he looked terrible in those matches. Steve Rolls arguably beat Berlanga last year in March.
The judges gave Berlanga a close 10 round unanimous decision, but a lot of people believed that Rolls should have won.
“You’ve got Madison Square Garden and Irish Andy Lee in the corner Etc, but also we do have to think about the pressure of being all of a sudden a little bit of a poster boy, the increased promotion, fighting at home, and we saw it with, and we saw it with Regis Prograis,” said Hearn.
“My job is to hype these guys up that they’re world beaters. I believe that, but they have to show it.
“Regis didn’t show it last week for a couple of different reasons, mainly because Zorrilla really didn’t really come to fight, but now Edgar’s got all that responsibility on his shoulders because we’re talking about Canelo Alvarez. We’re talking about Gennady Golovkin, Billy Joe Saunders, and Jaime Munguia, but he needs to be slicing through this guy like a knife through butter,” said Hearn.
Assuming Berlanga does win this fight on Saturday, Hearn probably won’t get Golovkin, Canelo, or Munguia to agree to fight Berlanga. Saunders is the most realistic option for Berlanga, but he’s going to have a high price tag.
“You can’t have both ways, right? I can’t tell the world that Edgar Berlanga should be fighting Canelo Alvarez if he struggles against Jason Quigley,” said Hearn. “We cannot put him in with Canelo Alvarez. That’s the reality of the situation.
“That’s a great fight. If he goes and beats a Munguia or a Golovkin, a Billy Joe Saunders, or maybe even a John Ryder, then all of a sudden, you go, ‘Okay, we can see the Canelo fight.’ Listen, if he goes out and ices Quigley in two rounds in a knockout of the year and stands on a turnbuckle and says, ‘It’s Puerto Rican vs. Mexico, let’s go.’
“Sometimes fights happen. You don’t always have to earn it when it’s big enough. There’s a lot of fights that have taken place where we might say, yeah, but has he really earned it?’ If the fights are big enough, who cares if he’s earned it?
“In my opinion, pending Saturday, I think he [Berlanga] needs one more after Quigley at a higher level. I would also say for his
“When you put him in a fight like that, he’s not out there to try and take a payday. People don’t realize that Edgar Berlanga was a top amateur. He nearly made the Olympic team and had a lot of success as an amateur, part of that great system that you guys produced,” Hearn said.
Quigley isn’t an easy out
“A lot of top young fighters. He’s a good fighter,” said Hearn. “This isn’t like some random white-collar guy that we’ve dragged out of Puerto Rico and said, ‘he’s got a massive following in New York.’
“He’s a proper fighter, and he went for a stage of what was it sixteen first round knockouts on the spin. People can criticize the opposition, but that’s pretty unique, and they were stepping him up slowly.
“So this is the toughest opponent of his career, really. Quigley is a top-15 guy. I’m not saying he’s a Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin, but he’s a legitimate world championship-level fighter. He lost to Demetrius Andrade.
“He was really shot at middleweight. He’s come now at super middleweight. He feels much better, and I think he’s going to give him a great fight.
“I really like Jason Quigley. He’s a really nice guy, but ultimately, of we’re talking about Edgar Berlanga, the statement is a devastating finish and a devastating knockout. The kind of reel that gets played back again and again.
“This is a different level. I want to see him do that. This place is going to be sold out. Everything is there for him. The good fighters will step up and produce a good performance. A showroom knockout and a statement are what we really need from Edgar Berlanga,” said Hearn.