By: Hans Themistode
Edgar Berlanga was far from pleased with his previous performance in the ring. For the first time in his young career, not only did Berlanga fail to drop his opponent but he also crashed face-first to the canvas. With the 24-year-old forced to undergo subsequent surgery to repair a torn left bicep, he promised to return a much better fighter. However, despite his promise, Berlanga was far from the hellacious knockout puncher many pegged him out as.
Although normally aggressive, Berlanga came out much more lethargic and somewhat methodical at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. He kept his hands up high and attempted to walk Rolls down. Unwilling to get into a firefight with his much younger and stronger opponent, Rolls boxed and moved on the outside while snapping Berlanga’s head back with a consistent jab.
A visibly flustered Berlanga attempted to employ the same tactics in round two. However, as Rolls continued to bounce around the ring, Berlanga threw his hands up in frustration. Still, despite imploring his man to walk to the center of the ring and throw down with him, Rolls opted to box.
Rolls continued his momentum in much of the third round. He danced, moved, and landed persistent jabs through the third and fourth rounds. Seldom would Berlanga push his own jab into the face of his man, although his corner urged him to do so.
In the fifth, Berlanga upped his aggression. He pinned Rolls against the ropes and unloaded on two quick and thunderous shots. Even with Rolls appearing to be on unsteady legs, Berlanga refused to let his hands go. Instead, much to the chagrin of the New York crowd, Berlanga backed off and allowed Rolls to get back to the center of the ring.
Although initially, Berlanga’s hometown crowd cheered him on, they booed relentlessly as their normally pernicious knockout puncher refused to go in for the kill.
In the eighth, Rolls stood his ground. He met Berlanga in the center of the ring and connected on a clean three-punch combination. Although Berlanga’s aggression was few and far between, his motor was kicked into high gear in the final two rounds.
Regardless of his attempts to get back to his knockout ways, Rolls managed to avoid any huge shots of Berlanga while making it to the final bell. In the end, regardless of his somewhat lackluster performance, Berlanga kept his perfect record intact, winning a close unanimous decision on the night.
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