Free agent super middleweight Edgar Berlanga is attracting plenty of attention following his split with Top Rank, which shouldn’t be any surprise considering he’s a young, undefeated, charismatic fighter who has made a bit of a name for himself, even if questions about his upside do remain.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn spoke about the potential to work with Berlanga this week, floating the potential for a major clash between Canelo Alvarez and Berlanga down the line.
“If Edgar Berlanga can headline a couple of shows against high-level, world-ranked opposition and prove that he is a contender for Canelo Alvarez, you have a fantastic Mexico vs Puerto Rico fight there,” he said. “But he has to establish himself as a world champion contender against that opposition. I believe he can do it.”
Hearn added that he was sure he’d speak with Berlanga manager Keith Connolly soon.
Today, Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya — who has been a busy man lately — posted a photo with himself and Berlanga to Instagram. He sounded hopeful of making a deal, though nothing has been announced, and you’d expect Team Berlanga to weigh out their options with every major promoter first.
“What a pleasure meeting Edgar Berlanga and his pops,” De La Hoya wrote on social media. “Looking forward to your future, ready to make history.”
De La Hoya also recently met with another former Top Rank fighter and an even bigger free agent, Terence Crawford, and the Golden Boy side firmly believe they may have a multi-fight deal with the WBO welterweight titleholder.
From Golden Boy’s side, they could potentially offer Jaime Munguia as an opponent at 168 lbs — it seems 50/50 right now if Munguia will stay at 160 or move up — plus there are several other fights they surely could get done, even if they aren’t major, marquee bouts, and truthfully, Berlanga is 25 and probably doesn’t immediately need “major, marquee bouts,” just to fight and keep proving himself. A fight with someone like Gabe Rosado or Shane Mosley Jr could be a nice next step or starting point.
But it does have to be said that if Canelo is Berlanga’s ultimate goal — and he’s talked about that fight for a long time now, as it’s a natural rivalry bout and could be big money — there may not be a worse place to sign long-term than Golden Boy. Canelo and the company were at odds long before their ugly split in 2020, and while nothing in the boxing world is ever set in stone forever, it’s at least unlikely that Canelo will want to work with Golden Boy again any time soon.
As for Berlanga’s split with Top Rank, Bob Arum said this past weekend that there were no hard feelings or anything of the sort. “We had a different philosophy, and we didn’t want to hold him back. He is bound and determined to proceed at a pace that we don’t think he’s ready for — he thinks differently, and I wish him all the luck in the world. He’s a nice young man, his father is a nice guy, but we just have a different philosophy of where he’s going.”
Either way this goes, it is nice to see Golden Boy and De La Hoya seemingly getting back into the mix a bit, too. As we talked about on this week’s podcast, the post-Canelo period was always going to be one of adjustment at the very least, and it was going to take time to recover. With the boxing landscape seeming to shift around a bit right now — and maybe quite a lot — De La Hoya and his company are looking poised to get back into the melee, having weathered some frankly fairly lean times, while also continuing to put on shows and build some young fighters, often pretty quietly but effectively.