Puerto Rico has a rich, proud history in boxing, but in all honesty, the island has had a pretty tough go of it in recent years. As of right now, there are few male Puerto Rican fighters considered to be among the best in their weight classes, and only one titleholder, which is WBO 105-pound titlist Wilfredo Mendez.
When Felix Trinidad was heading down the stretch of his great career, it gave way to Miguel Cotto. Cotto was expected by many to give way to Felix Verdejo, but Verdejo, now 26, just hasn’t panned out as many hoped he would. Danny Garcia, a Puerto Rican from Philadelphia, has been a standout, but never reached that true star attraction level, with respect to his achievements.
But New York’s Edgar Berlanga may be able to change that, and at the very least, the powerful 22-year-old middleweight prospect has a major belief in himself. Nicknamed “The Chosen One,” Berlanga is signed with Top Rank and has gone 13-0 (13 KO) since turning pro in 2016. None of his opponents have made it out of the first round.
There are still miles to go for Berlanga and a lot of steps up the ladder for sure. But he sees the potential for a major money showdown against Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez, currently one of boxing’s top attractions, and figures to be for years more.
“To be the best you have to fight the best and this fight will be worth millions,” Berlanga posted on Instagram, noting that it could be another great chapter in the great Puerto Rico vs Mexico boxing rivalry, which has frankly fallen off in recent years.
If you’re not someone who tunes in to the Top Rank prelims, you may not have seen Berlanga yet, but it’s so easy to understand why a promoter would see dollar signs in this kid. He’s got raw power, but he’s not crude about it, there are clearly developing skills there. And he’s got “the look” — he looks like a fighter, looks like an athlete, he’s someone clearly taking this seriously.
Again, there’s a long way to go before he’ll be ready to fight a Canelo Alvarez. But Alvarez is only 29, he’s not about to fade out of the spotlight any time soon. Berlanga looks like he’s got the frame to possibly fight all the way up to 175 (he’s been between 160 and 168 so far, a lot of catchweights as fighters often have early in their careers).
This really could happen someday. Remember this goal from Berlanga if it does.