Miguel Berchelt vs. Oscar Valdez: A once-in-a-generation fight

Boxing has had its fair share of legendary bouts between some of the top fighters in the sport. The names involved were synonymous with greatness; Hagler-Hearns, Leonard-Duran, Gatti-Ward, Robinson-LaMotta, Mayweather-Pacquiao, Canelo-Golovkin. Some bouts were evenly matched, while others just had a form of electricity surrounding it.

The upcoming clash between Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez could end up joining those above names. It could also end up in a league of its own.

Berchelt, the WBC super-featherweight champion, will look to successfully defend his title for the sixth time against a former WBO featherweight champion in Valdez. At 29 and 30, both Mexican fighters are in the prime of their careers. Add the fact that both fighter’s records are somewhat perfect, and the hype surrounding the bout has been otherworldly, we may just be in for a treat.

Top Rank’s Bob Arum praised this fight in a way only he can.

“Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez are two proud Mexican warriors who will give boxing fans a memorable fight,” said Arum. “Top Rank promoted all three bouts between Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, and I view Berchelt-Valdez as this generation’s Barrera-Morales.”

The trilogy between Barrera and Morales dominated the early 2000s, as the two put on Fight of the Year candidates and winners. Morales won the first fight via split decision, but Barrera would get the last laugh, beating him twice via unanimous and majority decision. Fighting for gold between bantamweight, featherweight, and super-featherweight, it is hard to find anyone who wouldn’t praise these legendary fighters.

Is there a lot of pressure on both Berchelt and Valdez after these comparisons? Perhaps, but that is the fight game. Based on the resumes of these two fighters, they are ready for anything.

Making his pro debut in 2010, Berchelt would lose his first fight, his 22nd, in 2014. He hasn’t looked back since, winning 16 in a row, including a knockout win against Francisco Vargas for the WBC title. He would have 17 but his win against Eleazer Valenzuela was overturned since the Mexico City Boxing Commission didn’t sanction it.

Berchelt has been known to press his opponents and set them up for the kill; he has 33 wins via some form of knockout. While he respects his opponent, Berchelt is not going to try and take it easy on Valdez.

“I’m very happy to be here. I’ve been following Oscar since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, since that was an opportunity I wanted for myself,” Berchelt stated during a Top Rank press conference. “I respect him. We know the quality of the opponent we have in front of us, but I’m here to get the win and {retain} my title.”

Valdez, a multiple-time amateur boxing champion, made his pro debut in 2012. He quickly won NABF super-featherweight gold while growing as a fighter. In his 19th fight, Valdez would beat Matias Rueda for the WBO featherweight title. Establishing himself in one division, Valdez is looking to take over a new one.

Training with Eddy Reynoso, who works with Canelo Alvarez, Valdez is ready for the fight of his life. He looks to Reynoso to help extend his career, while also fixing his faults. Valdez will look to use his past pain to his advantage. He famously broke his jaw against Scott Quigg in 2018 that was a cause for concern, but Valdez still walked out victorious. Having been through enough trials of resiliency, Valdez believes that gives him an edge.

“He (Berchelt ) hasn’t been through what I have,” Valdez told ESPN. “I don’t think, ‘What if it happens again?’ But I know if I can fight through a broken jaw, or a broken rib, or get off the canvas, I know I will always get through it. I know I will be victorious because of my mindset. Losing is never an option.”

Whether his determination will play into the fight is up in the air. Reynoso may not want Valdez to go to war with Berchelt, especially if his power comes into play. If Valdez plays by Reynoso’s plan, he could force Berchelt to overtire and then land shots of his own. Berchelt has been known to take heavy damage in his fights.

Speed will be a factor and could be on Valdez’s side. However, Berchelt’s overall technique outside of his power is still tough to beat. In a battle between two warriors, only one can come out on top. Will it deliver as many expect it to?

Prediction: Berchelt via TKO (round six) 

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