Boxing has become a staple of Puerto Rican Day Parade celebrations in New York City, and this year will be no different, as Edgar Berlanga will headline a card on ESPN this evening, facing Roamer Alexis Angulo at the Hulu Theater.
Madison Square Garden — the proper, big room — has been host to many Puerto Rican stars over the years, and in recent eras saw Felix “Tito” Trinidad fight there six times, and Miguel Cotto became the modern king of the historic venue, fighting there 10 times and going 8-2 at the arena.
More recently, the Garden saw Katie Taylor and another Puerto Rican star, Amanda Serrano, nearly blow the roof off for a truly special fight on Apr. 30.
Berlanga spoke about fighting on the weekend and about that fight and Serrano in an interview on the DAZN Boxing Show this week.
“That’s the queen right there, you know? Salute to her,” Berlanga said. “I told her, like, ‘Yo, we all look up to you as fighters.’ Even though I’m her big little brother, I look up to her. She’s doing something that’s never, that nobody has ever done before, especially as a female.”
Berlanga, like many, felt Serrano deserved to win the fight, which saw a wide variation of scorecards and plenty of passionate opinion on both sides.
“I thought she won. I’m pissed, man, because now — I thought she won the fight, they gave the fight to Katie Taylor, and shout out to Katie Taylor, man,” he said. “But I felt like Amanda won, and now the rematch (would be) in Ireland. If she didn’t get the decision in New York, her hometown, she’d have to go for the knockout.”
The rematch, from what we now know, may happen at some point, but Taylor promoter Eddie Hearn has said the Serrano side are not interested in doing it in Ireland. Serrano is currently slated to return on Aug. 6, fighting on Showtime PPV alongside promoter Jake Paul.
This will be Berlanga’s first Puerto Rican Day Weekend Parade fight, and says he’s fired up for the chance.
“I’m just blessed. I’ve been speaking about this since I was about 10 years old. I saw when Miguel Cotto did it when he fought Zab Judah, and I was there live. We’re not at the big house, we’re at the Hulu Theater, but it’s still the same thing, man, I’m just blessed, I’m happy. And I’m happy for the fans, too, who will come out supporting.”
Berlanga also talked about his last fight, a decision win over Steve Rolls in March, which drew mixed reviews at best.
“I know a lot of fighters aren’t going to sit there in the pocket with me, they’re going to try to move around and box,” he said. “That comes with the territory. I’m just happy we got the W, that’s the most important thing to me. Hats off to Steve Rolls, as well, for putting on a performance as well.
“It just goes to show what type of fighter I am. He went toe-to-toe with GGG when GGG was considered the deadliest fighter in the world. He went four rounds toe-to-toe and didn’t run, didn’t back down. For him to fight me, and his corner after the fight telling my dad that Rolls didn’t want to get knocked out, didn’t want to get hit, they respected my power — that meant a lot for me.”
We’ll see how Berlanga does tonight, because it’s clear Top Rank and ESPN still want to see if he can become a star, as he does have big drawing potential if he so much as keeps winning.