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Edgar Berlanga, Josue Vargas in action on Crawford-Kavaliauskas ESPN+ undercard

Berlanga has knocked out all 12 of his pro opponents in the first round

Masayuki Ito v Jamel Herring Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

The ESPN+ portion of the December 14th Terence Crawford-Egidijus Kavaliauskas undercard, which has been slowly coming together over the past month or so, is now complete. The featured bouts will see New York young guns Edgar Berlanga and Josue Vargas in action against Cesar Nunez and Noel Murphy.

Berlanga (12-0, 12 KO), a 22-year-old super middleweight, has thus far demolished all comers in under three minutes apiece. He’s yet to face a warm body, though, and while Spain’s Nunez (16-1-1, 8 KO) is coming off of a loss to Vincent Feigenbutz, he’s still a step up for “The Chosen One.” Maybe he has what it takes to give us more than one round of action.

“It’s a blessing to fight at MSG, my second time fighting in the big room,” Berlanga said. “I’ve had a few opponents who were supposed to take me rounds and I’ve knocked them out in the first round. I’m ready to go those rounds, so let’s see if he can handle my power.”

Vargas (15-1, 9 KO) has won nine straight since a 2017 DQ loss to sub-.500 Samuel Santana, knocking out five of his last seven foes along the way. Murphy (14-1-1, 2 KO) lost his only notable fight to date, a unanimous decision to future title challenger Mikkel LesPierre in February of last year.

“I went to see a lot of fights there, especially when Miguel Cotto fought at the Garden,” Vargas said. “I remember seeing all the Puerto Rican fans. It gives me goosebumps every time I think about it. I always dreamed of fighting at MSG in front of my supporters from New York and Puerto Rico. I finally got here. I just can’t wait to perform under the lights at MSG, the big one.”

The undercard also includes a super middleweight clash between Steven Nelson and Cem Killic, plus George Kambosos Jr. vs. Mickey Bey at lightweight and Julian Rodriguez vs. Manuel Mendez at 140. The main card, meanwhile, sees Teofimo Lopez challenge Richard Commey for the IBF lightweight title and Michael Conlan get his long-awaited rematch against Vladimir Nikitin.

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