Berchelt vs Valdez - Fight Preview
Ahead of his title bout with fellow countryman Francisco Vargas in early 2017, Mexico’s Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt was a relative unknown in boxing. But after beating up Vargas, capturing the WBC super featherweight title and successfully defending it six times over the course of four years, Berchelt has been regarded as a top boxing talent. Now, he is getting ready for possibly the biggest test of his career
Berchelt (39-1, 33 KO) will attempt to make the seventh defense of his title when he clashes with former featherweight titleholder Oscar Valdez (28-0, 22 KO) on Feb. 20. The fight will headline a Top Rank on ESPN card in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After outpointing former belt-holder Takashi Miura in his first ever title defense in July 2017, Berchelt finished each one of his next five opponents inside the championship distance, further enhancing his reputation as a dangerous puncher. During that run, he also stopped credible opponents such as Miguel Roman, Jonathan Victor Barrios, and most recently, Jason Sosa. Berchelt last stepped inside the ring June 2020 in Mexico. He won the fight by TKO in the sixth, but the fight was later ruled a no-contest since the Mexico City Boxing Commision didn’t sanction it.
Valdez, who also comes from Mexico, had more of a “blue chip” upbringing in the sport. He represented Mexico in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games (he’s the first Mexican boxer to have competed in two Olympic Games), and was signed by Top Rank Boxing early in his pro career. Eventually Valdez captured the then vacant WBO featherweight title after stopping Matias Rueda in the second round of their fight in July 2016. Like Berchelt, Valdez has successfully defended his title six times since winning it. He’s successfully defended his belt against familiar names such as Miguel Marriaga and, most notably, Scott Quigg. In late 2019, Valdez decided to move up in weight and compete at 130 pounds. Since then, he’s won two fights, against Adam Lopez and, most recently, Jayson Velez.
Berchelt-Valdez is one of the best matchups in Mexican boxing, and, thus, on Saturday, one of those fighters will earn arguably the most credible win of their career. The winner could also set themselves up for a big unification fight with WBA titleholder Gervonta Davis or the WBO titleholder Jamel Herring (the most likely option given the promotional landscape), assuming that they wouldn’t have to face a mandatory challenger next.
Fighter’s Form (last 5 fights):
Eleazer Valenzuela - NC - 27/06/2020
Jason Sosa - WIN by KO 4 - 02/11/2019
Francisco Vargas- WIN by TKO after 6 - 11/05/2019
Miguel Roman - WIN by TKO 9 - 03/11/2018
Jonathan Victor Barrios - WIN by TKO - 23/06/2018
Jayson Velez - WIN by TKO 10 - 21/07/2020
Adam Lopez - WIN by TKO 7 - 30/11/2019
Jason Sanchez - WIN by UD (118-109, 118-109, 117-110 - 08/06/2019
Carmine Tommasone - WIN by TKO 7 - 02/02/2019
Scott Quigg - WIN by UD (118-110, 117-111, 117-111) - 03/10/2018
Date: February 20th, 2021
Time: 3 am (UK), 7pm (PT), 10pm (ET)
Venue: The Bubble at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Channel: Top Rank on ESPN
Elsewhere on the card
In the co-main event, up-and-coming prospect Gabriel Flores Jr. (19-0, 6 KO) will take on his toughest test, Jayson Velez (29-7-1, 21 KO) in a lightweight matchup. The undercard will also feature Brazilian Olympic silver medalist Esquiva Falcao (27-0, 19 KO) will face off against Artur Akavov (20-3, 9 KO) in a battle of middleweights.