As had been expected, Miguel Berchelt vs Oscar Valdez is now officially on for Feb. 20 on ESPN, with Top Rank announcing the fight and the card’s co-feature today.
Berchelt (37-1, 33 KO) and Valdez (28-0, 22 KO) were originally slated to wrap up Top Rank’s 2020 on Dec. 12, but Berchelt came down with COVID and the fight had to be postponed. But it’s on now.
The 29-year-old Berchelt will be defending the WBC junior lightweight title in the main event. He fought once in 2020, beating club fighter Eleazar Valenzuela in a June 27 fight from Mexico City which doesn’t actually count toward his official record, as there was no commission present due to COVID restrictions. Valdez, the 30-year-old former WBO featherweight titlist, fought on July 21, beating Jayson Velez via 10th round TKO.
The co-feature will see junior lightweight prospect Gabriel Flores Jr (19-0, 6 KO) take on his toughest test to date in the form of veteran Andrew Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KO), who held a version of the WBA 130-pound title in 2019.
The 32-year-old Cancio signed with Top Rank after Golden Boy released him following his Nov. 2019 upset loss to Rene Alvarado, likely more because Cancio had been critical of the company not trying to get him bigger fights than because he lost. He hasn’t fought since, and Top Rank’s attempts to schedule him in 2020 all went awry for one reason or another. Cancio hasn’t actually fought outside of the Fantasy Springs in Indio, Calif., since 2016, and I have theorized that he was cursed by a witch during an 19-month break from boxing between 2016-18, putting a spell on him that he would never fight outside of Indio again. This is just a theory, but so far it has been holding up.
Flores, 20, is a good prospect, a fighter Top Rank like a lot, but some have questions of whether his skills will be good enough to hold up against better opponents, when a perceived lack of power may come more into play. Flores has gone the distance in his last six fights following a highlight reel KO in May 2019. Is he waiting for MAN STRENGTH!!!!!!!!? Is he just who he is? Is he good enough to get around it? Cancio’s a good test right now.
As for me, personally, I find it upsetting and frankly rather insulting that Top Rank are putting this show head-to-head with the Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul PPV. As America’s most ardent Berchelt believer and someone who supported every “Bubble” show from 2020, including the lousiest and stankiest of the lot, I simply feel I am owed better than this. It is unjust and I may have no choice but to track down the witch from the Cancio situation.