Rising young knockout artist Edgar Berlanga recently got the biggest exposure of his career, featured on an ESPN card where he extended his streak of first round stoppages to 14 in a row, effortlessly blasting out Eric Moon in just 62 seconds on Top Rank’s July 21 show.
It wasn’t just the TV audience — most of his fights have come on Top Rank’s streaming prelims on ESPN+, and those draw little attention overall. It was the fact that he became an ESPN “story,” as much as anything in boxing can really become “mainstream” apart from the handful of actually popular fighters in the sport.
Berlanga (14-0, 14 KO) has shown a humbleness, which is notable and commendable. “I’m looking forward to a title, but I still wanna grow,” he said after starching Moon. “I still wanna get the rounds in, I still wanna build myself. I’m still a young lion in the sport. There’s a lot of killers at 168 that I gotta get prepared for.”
But he’s also not afraid to set goals for himself, either. Not long ago, he said he looked forward to someday meeting Canelo Alvarez in a big Mexico vs Puerto Rico showdown. And he still sees that as the big goal at 168, and believes he’ll be ready relatively soon.
“Mad respect for Canelo, best fighter in the world at the moment,” Berlanga wrote on Instagram, “but I’ll be ready for him in 18 months.”
Berlanga just turned 23 in May, and in 18 months he should — pandemic depending — be able to get in enough fights, and hopefully the right steps up, to potentially be about as ready as he’ll get for Canelo, who just turned 30.
It’s ambitious, yes, but this is clearly a young fighter with that ambition. He doesn’t want to just knock over second-rate opponents and make his name that way, he wants to keep improving and meet the best, and hopes to be the best. A young fighter worth following right now.