Miguel Berchelt vs Oscar Valdez
Round 1: Here we go! Valdez misses a wild right hand from too far. Berchelt staying at distance, seeing what Valdez wants to do. Berchelt can be a “slow starter.” Berchelt poking the jab out. Valdez trying to jab in, not getting the range he wants. Valdez throws a looping up, blocked with the glove. Andre Ward worried about Valdez wasting energy. Tim Bradley thinks he’s fighting with emotion. Berchelt the far more relaxed guy in the first round. Neither doing a lot offensively, honestly, at least nothing particularly effective. Edge Valdez on activity. Valdez 10-9
Round 2: Berchelt still mostly just poking the jab out. Valdez trying to time a combination, but Berchelt muscles him out of the way. Berchelt a clearly bigger man here. He was about 146 on unofficial weigh-in earlier, Valdez about 140. And Berchelt definitely just a taller, longer guy. Good little jab from Valdez. Another one. That one bloodied Berchelt’s nose. Valdez now gaining some confidence in that jab. Berchelt poking still from range, not really letting power shots go at all. This is a cautious but so far rather effective start from Valdez, but the heat will turn up sooner than later. Valdez 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: Osuna says Berchelt’s corner are clearly aware Valdez has some good speed on his jab. I’d hope so, on account of his nose. Berchelt lunges, Valdez ties him up, tries to throw with it. Valdez with another good jab down the pipe. Berchelt trying to turn it up, Valdez moving away, staying pretty patient. Left hook from Valdez as they throw at the same time. Berchelt tries to trap Valdez in the corner, Valdez slips under and makes Berchelt look slow, escapes easily. Left hook thrown again by Valdez. Right hand from Berchelt gets in, but thrown a bit far. Berchelt does look a little sluggish compared to Valdez, a little ponderous. Valdez is fighting extremely effectively right now. Valdez 10-9, 30-27
Gabriel Flores Jr vs Jayson Velez
Round 1: Flores comes right out throwing two jabs and a right, and hey, unleashing some hooks now, too. Flores looking to start fast here, love to see it. Velez only stopped once in his career, though, tough dude. Flores can make a statement if he can do damage here. Long jab to the body from Flores. Velez trying to return the favor. Flores jabbing, bringing combinations behind it, not getting the power shots home yet. Velez going to the body, a good idea. Velez calm, feeling things out mostly. Throwing hands, though, not just standing. Good opening round for Flores, though. Flores 10-9
Round 2: Flores trying to really get the jab going early this round. Staying at the range he wants, too, and Velez not doing a lot trying to close it just yet. Flores doing a good, patient job so far. Velez trying to set up his right hand but Flores not biting on it, looks like he sees Velez going for it. And Velez does go for it, but Flores slips it. Flores dancing at range, moving around. Velez again goes for the right, again not quite there. And again he tries it, again not there. Lead right from Flores, Velez’s comes back and grazes. Good jabs from Flores, quadrupled up there. Flores 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: Like the range Flores is keeping here. Jab has been a good key, effective and pretty accurate. Velez is going to have to ugly this up. Flores doing his usual solid job here. Jabbing well, moving well. Not defensively magical or anything, Velez doing a little work, but Flores is a smart fighter for his age. Flores 10-9, 30-27
Round 4: Flores continuing to do solid work. Velez there, trying to get work in, competing a little. Flores is never going to wow anyone, really, but this is a good young boxer. Sort of a bigger Angelo Leo to me. Flores 10-9, 40-36
Round 5: Flores’ corner wants the pace picked up now. Trying to lead with power shots, Velez able to pick them off. Velez with a decent little rush, got a couple shots in. Flores back to the jab. Nick this round to the veteran, Flores never found rhythm in this one. Velez 10-9, Flores 49-46
Round 6: About 1:10 into the round, DOWN GOES VELEZ! He’s hurt, too. Velez up, bad legs. Flores throwing bombs, Velez trying to bomb back because it’s all he can do! DOWN GOES VELEZ ON A LEFT HOOK AND IT IS OVER! Flores TKO-6
- Gabriel Flores Jr TKO-6 Jayson Velez (1:47)
- Elvis Rodriguez UD-8 Luis Alberto Veron (78-74, 79-73, 79-73)
- Xander Zayas UD-6 James Martin (60-54, 60-54, 60-54)
- Javier Martinez TKO-1 Billy Wagner (1:51)
- Omar Rosario KO-2 Uriel Villanueva (2:38)
Tonight on ESPN and streaming live on ESPN+, Miguel Berchelt defends his WBC junior lightweight world title against former featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez in the Top Rank Boxing main event.
Coverage will start at 6:45 pm ET for the undercard prelim bouts on ESPN+, and then we’ll have live, round-by-round updates for the two main fights on the show, which start at 10 pm ET and will also air on ESPN.
Berchelt, 29, is a solid but not overwhelming favorite this evening, and Valdez, 30, is a hard-charging warrior at his best, someone who is capable of bringing the sort of heat that Berchelt hasn’t faced in quite a while, probably since winning the title from Francisco Vargas in 2017.
There are questions on both sides here, though frankly mostly on Valdez, which is why he’s the underdog. But this is a great fight on paper; even if you think there’s a clear favorite, the chances for this to be a serious war are far, far higher than the average fight.
The co-feature will see junior lightweight prospect Gabriel Flores Jr take a step up in competition against Jayson Velez, a durable and tough veteran.
How to Watch Berchelt vs Valdez
Date: Saturday, Feb. 20 | Start Time: 6:45 pm ET (Undercard) / 10:00 pm ET (Main)
Location: MGM Grand – Las Vegas, NV
TV: ESPN | Streaming: ESPN+
Online Coverage: BadLeftHook.com
On the prelims portion, middleweight “contender” Esquiva Falcao will face former title challenger Artur Akavov, and we’ll also see prospects Elvis Rodriguez, Xander Zayas, Sonny Conto, and Javier Martinez in action.
Prelims (ESPN+, 6:30 pm ET)
- Esquiva Falcao (27-0, 19 KO) vs Artur Akavov (20-3, 9 KO), middleweights, 10 rounds
- Elvis Rodriguez (10-0-1, 10 KO) vs Luis Alberto Veron (18-2-2, 9 KO), junior welterweights, 8 rounds
- Xander Zayas (6-0, 5 KO) vs James Martin (6-1, 0 KO), welterweights, 6 rounds
- Javier Martinez (2-0, 0 KO) vs Billy Wagner (3-1, 1 KO), middleweights, 4 rounds
- Omar Rosario (2-0, 0 KO) vs Uriel Villanueva (1-0, 0 KO), welterweights, 4 rounds
Main Card (ESPN+ and ESPN, 10:00 pm ET)
- Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KO) vs Oscar Valdez (28-0, 22 KO), junior lightweights, 12 rounds, for Berchelt’s WBC title
- Gabriel Flores Jr (19-0, 6 KO) vs Jayson Velez (29-7-1, 21 KO), junior lightweights, 10 rounds