Saturday night on ESPN+ and ESPN, power punching super middleweight sensation Edgar Berlanga takes on Demond Nicholson in the Navarrete-Diaz co-feature.
Does Berlanga extend his run to 17 straight first round knockouts? Can Nicholson hang around or even win?
Scott Christ (24-7-2)
Demond Nicholson is an alright young vet sort of fighter, 28 and has been around, the book is mostly written on him unless he throws some curveballs. He can crack a little, not a guy whose power you can ignore. The terrible news for him in this particular matchup is he doesn’t take the best shot in the world; he was dropped three times and stopped by Jesse Hart in 2018, he got caught and dropped by Mike Guy in his last fight in Feb. 2020, which Nicholson did win by decision.
Berlanga’s power is natural. It’s raw and organic, it’s the real thing. And I think it’s clear on the eye test at least that he’s not just power. Yes, he’s going to meet guys who hold up, he’s going to meet guys who can even just frustrate him and not take many clean shots. I don’t know that this is the fight, though. I hate to pick a first round stoppage, but I mean, Berlanga’s stopped everyone in the first round. But I’m going to pick Nicholson to last a couple and maybe even have his moments, which might push pause for Berlanga a little bit, enough to let some moments tick by. Berlanga hasn’t had to push pause at all yet. Berlanga TKO-3
Wil Esco (25-6-2)
It seems to me the real question here is not whether or not Berlanga will win this fight, but whether or not it last more than one round. I’m going to say no. Berlanga has showcased some real power that seems to flow pretty effortlessly and when he touches guys he just hurts them. In this business that’s surely a blessing. I think Berlanga lands some heavy thudding shots early that shake up Nicholson who will succumb to the pressure before the end of the first round, keeping Berlanga’s first round KO streak intact - at least for now. Berlanga TKO-1
How to Watch Navarrete vs Diaz
Patrick L. Stumberg (24-7-2)
This isn’t a gimme for Berlanga by any stretch of the imagination; Nicholson’s fast, sharp, and can definitely thump, making him the likeliest of any Berlanga foes to date to actually offer proper adversity. Unfortunately, he’s also heartbreakingly fragile, having hit the deck against Steve Rolls, Jesse Hart, and Mike Guy alongside a stoppage loss to Lekan Byfield. He’s good enough to give Berlanga fits for a while, but avoiding a kill shot for eight full rounds is beyond him.
While it wouldn’t surprise me to see Berlanga wallop him in the first round and keep the streak alive, I’ll be an optimist and say Nicholson manages a solid handful of rounds before Berlanga drops the hammer. For extra tragedy, I say Nicholson will be ahead at the time. Berlanga TKO-4
Lewis Watson (26-5-2)
I’m a real sucker for the Berlanga first-round kayo club. It feels like a real party piece that is always going to gather interest. The kid is extremely heavy-handed and probably more measured in his attacks than people give him credit for, with Nicholson the 17th man tasked with lasting beyond 180 seconds. Nicholson clearly carries power himself but has been stopped a couple of times. Will he trade-off early? Or just see getting to round two as his first hurdle? I mean, picking correct round stoppages is a fool’s errand most of the time, but not this time. The train will keep on rolling, baby. Oh, you want a particular second of the round? Sure. Berlanga TKO at 2:17. Berlanga TKO-1