Edgar Berlanga was prepared to go deeper into the evening than at any point in his career, though what took place last Saturday evening wasn’t quite what he had in mind.
The preceding college football game between the LSU Tigers and Florida Gators ran well past its allotted three-hour timeframe on ESPN, meaning a lengthy delay to the start of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN telecast this past Saturday in Las Vegas. Brooklyn’s Berlanga was tabbed to open the show San Diego’s Ulises Sierra, who vowed to extend the unbeaten super middleweight knockout artist beyond the 1st round.
Their bout and the show as a whole was delayed by a full 58 minutes, which changed the mindset of the rising super middleweight prospect.
“It was just delaying the action,” Berlanga revealed to BoxingScene.com. “They kept me waiting like that; I just had to go out there and get that dude.”
The entire build-up to the fight centered around whether this would be the night where Berlanga’s streak of 15 consecutive 1st round knockouts in as many pro fights would come to a close. Sierra came out fighting like a man interested in testing the heart of the 23-year old Nuyorican, though lasted barely a minute. Berlanga reached a familiar place in the fight, sending Sierra to the canvas three times before referee Russell Mora stepped in to stop the contest.
With an official time of 2:40, Berlanga came within five seconds of fighting the longest fight of his career. That moment occurred exactly 52 weeks prior, when he needed 2:45 to rid the ring of Pamplona’s Cesar Nuñez last December at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The bout was his second at the famed venue, with hopes of returning there in 2021 should things change with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In the meantime, there comes the matter of returning to the ring as soon as possible—if only for another round or so of action.
“We’re looking to get back in the ring by March, at the latest,” states Berlanga, who wound up with three fights in 2020—all in the past five months. “And we are looking for a big fight. I’m looking forward to bringing big time boxing back to New York. I got a big fan base from Puerto Rico to New York and throughout the whole Tri-State area.
“I’ve been knocking everyone out in the first round. Bringing that (back) to Madison Square Garden, it’s gonna be crazy.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox