New York- Boxing season continued Saturday evening with televised cards promoted by Top Rank/ESPN and Showtime/PBC. Latino fighters were highlighted. And in the weeks and months head ESPN, Showtime, and streaming network DAZN will continue to provide fans with a full slate of championship fights.
On the calendar: April 30: Las Vegas (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/ESPN+)
Oscar Valdez vs. Shakur Stevenson, 12 rounds, WBC/WBO junior lightweight unification
April 30: New York (DAZN) Madison Square Garden
Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano, 10 rounds, for Taylor’s WBC/IBF/WBO/WBA women’s lightweight title
Jessie Vargas vs. Liam Smith, 12 rounds, junior middleweights
May 7: Las Vegas (DAZN PPV)
Dmitry Bivol vs. Canelo Alvarez, 12 rounds, for Bivol’s WBA light heavyweight title
May 14: Los Angeles (Showtime)
Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castano, rematch, WBA/IBF/WBA/WBO title unification
May 28: New York (Showtime PPV) Barclays Center
Gervonta Davis vs. Rolando Romero, 12 rounds, for Davis’ WBA “regular’ lightweight title
Jeremiah Nakathil knocked out former world champion Miguel Berchelt in a stunning upset Saturday evening at Resorts World Las Vegas. The fight was stopped after six one-sided rounds. Berchelt was knocked down in the third with a jab and behind on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage on all three judges’ scorecards.
Berchelt, (Merida, Yucatán, Mexico) (38-3, 34 KOs) had not fought since his February 2021 knockout loss to Oscar Valdez, and Nakathila (23-2, 19 KOs) had fought once since a wide points loss to Shakur Stevenson,. His second American fight saw a right hand that hurt Berchelt on multiple occasions.
“I’m going to get up. I’m going to rise from this,” Berchelt said. “The great champions are not the ones who fall. The great champions are those who rise, and I will go home, spend time with my family, visit with them, get some rest, and I am going to come back stronger than ever.”
However, the layoff and loss to Valdez that had fight of the year consideration may have taken a toll. Berchelt could have seen his last fight or will find it difficult to climb back into the championship picture…
Featherweight Eduardo Baez (21-2-2, 7 KOs) Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico won a majority decision over Jose Enrique Vivas (21-2, 11 KOs) Texcoco, México, M The co-feature, Baez became a title contender with a closely contested victory over his Mexican countryman. It was expected to be a toe-to-toe barnburner, but Baez played the role of boxer, using an educated jab to blunt Vivas’ attack. Vivas found pockets of success in the 10th, backing Baez to the ropes and unloading. Baez was never in serious trouble and prevailed by a slim margin on the cards. He outlanded Vivas 304-215.
SHOWTIME FOR ELVIS: In the telecast opener, super lightweight contender Elvis Rodriguez (13-1-1, 12 KOs) scored a seventh-round knockout over Argentina’s Juan Velasco (23-3, 14 KOs), dropping him three times in the round to finish the fight.
“I wasn’t surprised that I was able to dominate this fight,” said Rodriguez. “I was ready to demonstrate my skills with all of these fans here. I trained really well because I knew that Velasco was going to be a tough opponent.”
After a knockout victory in November, Rodriguez returned to action Saturday night and controlled the pace from the outset, circling his opponent and peppering him with combos from the southpaw stance. As Velasco continued to push forward, Rodriguez was able to slow his opponent’s counters with a consistent body attack, landing 42 times to the body over the seven rounds.
The Dominican Rodriguez used a prolific output of power punches to open up a cut and swelling around Velasco’s left eye, which Velasco told his corner was inhibiting his vision between rounds six and seven. Rodriguez landed 97 power punches in the fight at an impressive 63% connect rate.
“In the beginning of the fight, I started fainting and I was moving around a lot,” said Rodriguez. “But when I started making the combinations, I saw that it was hurting him so I kept with the power punches.”
Sensing his advantage, Rodriguez pressed forward early in round seven and put Velasco down hard early in the frame. He remained patient with his follow-up attack, eventually finding a spot for a sweeping right hook that scored him his second knockdown of the round. With one more flurry, and with Velasco unable to keep him at bay, Rodriguez delivered a left hand that put him down a third time, eventually prompting referee Gary Ritter to waive off the bout 2:49 into the round.
“The eye bothered me during the fight,” said Velasco. “The outcome was more because of fatigue than being hurt. I’ll talk to my family next before I decide what my future holds.”
“I thought the fight was going to be over after I first knocked him down,” said Rodriguez. “But he did surprise me because he came back in that round. I just covered myself well for the remainder of that round and tried to take him out. I knew that he was having trouble with his eye. I could see that he was cut on the left eye and was also bleeding from his nose.
“I’m ready for anybody at 140 pounds. Gervonta Davis, Rolly Romero, whoever. I’m ready and prepared.”
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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