By Anthony “Zute” George – Knockouts sell. Even in the era where greats like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Andre Ward ate W12’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the pugilists with the high KO percentage are often the most intriguing for boxing fans. Knockout artists always draw eyeballs. Knockout artists always have fans salivating for more. Knockout artists always get the top of the bill.
Edgar Berlanga was all of that and then some. Not only was ‘The Chosen One’ knocking out every middleweight and super middleweight put in front of him, these opponents were also not getting out of the first round. The legend was born.
While hype can be a boxer’s best friend, it can also be detrimental. A pressure cooker some fighters are not prepared for. How many times have we seen boxers fall just when there press clippings were at their zenith? Joe Louis, Ray Leonard, Donald Curry, Mark Breland, Mike Tyson, Anthony Joshua, and Teofimo Lopez Jr. are all examples of pugilists who have tasted defeat at a time when most did not think it was possible. From the examples cited, only Louis and Leonard managed to secure their greatness once again. For some, the jury is still out.
Having said that, Berlanga is still undefeated (18-0, 16 KOs); however, the knockout streak is in the rear view mirror. Going the distance in his last two victories. Being dropped by Marcelo Coceres in the process. Indeed, some of the shine has fallen off The Chosen One. Newsflash, he is human.
Despite those minor hiccups, Edgar is still a star in the making and has a big date on March 19th in New York City. A card that is chock full of young upstarts. Hot prospects Xander Zayas (12-0, 9 KOs) and Keyshawn Davis (4-0, 3 KOs) will also be featured. But Berlanga is The Chosen One to head the Big Apple bill of prospects and he is primed for combat.
After all, Edgar is a Brooklyn native. How could he not feel at home? “I’m proud to represent New York City and Puerto Rico. I want to be the next great Puerto Rican champion. My first memories of boxing are watching Tito Trinidad fight as a little kid, and I want to give the Puerto Rican people someone that they can be proud of,” Berlanga recently told Top Rank Press.
Edgar’s dancing partner is Steve Rolls (21-1, 12 KOs). Rolls was smashed out when he was matched up against Gennady Golovkin, his toughest competition. That fight took place in June 2019, and he has only fought twice since then. Looking at this fight through a critical lens, Rolls is a perfect setup for the Puerto Rican prospect to begin another knockout streak. Indeed, the table has been set for Edgar to eat like a King on March 19th.
Still, Rolls has some ability. He stopped a formidable opponent in Christopher Brooker in his last outing. A fighter a bit better than his record suggests. So, if The Chosen One is not on his Ps & Qs, it is not out of the question that he slips on a banana peel.
All signs point to Berlanga being the best he can possibly be, however. His rigorous training camp from Las Vegas is well-publicized.
Can The Chosen One once again dazzle the boxing world with his bone-crunching power?
Photo credit Mikey Williams/Top Rank