By: Hans Themistode
Edgar Berlanga has gone from super middleweight prospect to must-watch television in seemingly the blink of an eye. With 16 first-round knockouts, Berlanga has garnered national television due to the savage beatings he’s dished out during his short career.
Names such as recently inducted hall of famer Andre Ward and former two-division titlist Tim Bradley have been left impressed with his performances. So has promoter Bob Arum who’s pegged him to be a possible future star.
But while Berlanga (16-0, 16 KOs) continues to receive pats on the back for a job well done, former super middleweight champion David Benavidez doesn’t understand the hype. The 24-year-old admits that the knockouts are highlight-worthy, but after taking a deep dive into Berlanga’s resume, Benavidez could only come to one conclusion.
“The people that he knocked out are all bums,” said Benavidez during a recent interview on AHAT, a YouTube channel. “They’re all garbage but he makes them look nice.”
Recently, former trainer of long-reigning middleweight titlist Gennadiy Golovkin in Abel Sanchez, spoke glowingly of the skills of Benavidez. Going as far as to say that even as an amateur, Benavidez gave Golovkin all he could handle in sparring. His experience in the unpaid ranks, coupled with his truncated title reigns, has left Benavidez scratching his head as he tries to understand the hype surrounding the new kid on the super middleweight block.
“I been fighting way better competition since I was 17 years old, 18 years old. He’s 23 years old now and he’s fighting nobodies. If that makes him and his team feel good than to each their own.”
Not only does Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) struggle to recognize any of the names on Berlanga’s resume but the Arizona native doesn’t see the benefit in what he’s accomplishing. The quick nights at the office may have netted Berlanga a few newfound celebrity friends as well as daily appearances on Sports Centers highlight reel, but Benavidez is under the impression that his growth is being stunted and the pressure is mounting.
“It’s cool but the thing about knocking people out in the first hard is now there’s pressure. He’s throwing everything in the first round. There’s a lot of stuff in this professional game that he has to learn. You have to learn how to go a couple rounds, throw a couple jabs, set some guys up. You don’t always have to go for the finish every first round but now that people are making a big deal out of it he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself to knock people out in the first round.”
For Berlanga, there’s a certain aura of invincibility that is accompanying him and his current streak. No matter how hard his opponents attempt to simply make it through the first three minutes, it’s become virtually impossible up until this point. To Benavidez though, it’s all a lie. Berlanga may seem unbeatable but the former titleholder has seen him lose time and time again.
“I have a couple videos of him getting knocked out in the amateurs. I just saw a video of Erickson Lubin beating him up so I don’t think much of that guy.”
Despite not believing in the hype, Berlanga would love to share with the up and comer from Brooklyn, New York. He doesn’t anticipate that it will happen now, but as long as Berlanga continues to win, Benavidez views their clash as inevitable.
“We’ll see where he get to. That’s definitely a fight that I wanna make happen in the future.”