Edgar Berlanga’s push with Top Rank and ESPN seemed to have hit some snags in his most recent outings, and now it won’t be moving forward at all.
ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger reports that Berlanga and Top Rank have “mutually agreed to part ways after months of talks that failed to resolve key issues.”
Edgar Berlanga and Top Rank have mutually agreed to part ways after months of talks that failed to resolve key issues, Top Rank and Team Berlanga told ESPN. Both sides have signed the separation agreement. Berlanga, 25, is now a promotional free agent. Story coming to ESPN.— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) January 18, 2023
The 25-year-old Berlanga looked to be budding into a potential major attraction for Top Rank and the ESPN boxing brand, as he tore through his first 16 opponents, all via first round stoppage. ESPN aggressively promoted that streak into 2021, and had made him a major focus during the “Bubble” days of boxing on the network, where Berlanga went 3-0 with wins over Eric Moon, Lanell Bellows, and Ulises Sierra.
His Apr. 2021 matchup with Demond Nicholson went to a decision over eight rounds, with Berlanga dominating, and his last three fights have all gone a full 10-round distance, victories over Marcelo Coceres, Steve Rolls, and Roamer Alexis Angulo.
In each bout, it’s fair to say that the ESPN television commentary was starting to get a lot more critical of Berlanga (20-0, 16 KO), and the win over Angulo also featured Berlanga taking a literal bite at Angulo. His joking about it after the fight didn’t go down well with a lot of people — including ESPN’s Mark Kriegel — and he wound up suspended by the New York State Athletic Commission.
To his credit, Berlanga did apologize once out of the moment, saying he took full responsibility and “reacted poorly.”
That fight, which came in June 2022, was his last to date, and now we’ll see where his career goes from here, because it won’t be with Top Rank.
Now, while Berlanga’s stock has fallen a bit for a few reasons — including just not, you know, knocking out everyone within a round — he is still a 25-year-old, charismatic, undefeated Puerto Rican fighter from New York. There is not a promotional company or whatever you’d call PBC, for instance — “collection of like-minded individuals”? — out there who won’t at least explore the option to add him to their roster, because he can be very marketable. I wouldn’t expect he’ll wait around long with manager Keith Connolly to figure out what the next move is.