Miguel Berchelt expects a highly motivated Oscar Valdez to enter the ring February 20.
Berchelt believes Valdez has been bothered by those that insist the smaller, defensively deficient fighter has little chance to beat Berchelt in their 12-round fight for Berchelt’s WBC super featherweight title. Handicappers have installed Berchelt as an approximate 3-1 favorite over Valdez, but Berchelt is convinced he is in for a very difficult fight next month.
“Without a doubt, this is a fight that the fans are waiting for,” Berchelt told BoxingScene.com through a translator. “It’s a big, big fight for boxing fans. Everyone knows what happens when two Mexicans are in the ring. It’s going to be a war. The fans should be expecting fireworks.”
Cancun’s Berchelt (38-1, 34 KOs) and Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs), a Nogales native, were supposed to meet December 12 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Their fight was postponed two months because Berchelt contracted COVID-19.
ESPN will air their 130-pound championship match from an undetermined venue in Las Vegas.
The 30-year-old Valdez performed impressively last summer in his second fight at the 130-pound limit since he gave up the WBO featherweight title. He became the first opponent to stop durable Puerto Rican veteran Jayson Velez on July 21, when he dropped Velez (29-7-1, 21 KOs) once in the fifth round and twice in the 10th round on his way to a 10th-round stoppage at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
“I think that anything can happen in a boxing ring,” Berchelt said. “There’s a lot of people wrongly thinking he has no chance in the fight. But by people saying that, I think that actually makes Valdez stronger because he’s using that as motivation. And in a fight, anything can happen. You can have a little slip, get hit with a big punch, and then you lost the fight.”
The 29-year-old Berchelt’s lone loss came by first-round technical knockout against Luis Florez in March 2014. Colombia’s Florez (25-17, 21 KOs, 1 NC) was 15-1 at the time he beat Berchelt, who was 21-0 entering that scheduled 10-rounder.
Berchelt-Valdez will headline a card that’ll also include an intriguing 10-rounder between unbeaten 130-pound prospect Gabriel Flores Jr. and onetime WBA “super” 130-pound champ Andrew Cancio. The 20-year-old Flores (19-0, 6 KOs), of Stockton, California, will take a significant step up in class when he encounters Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KOs), of Ventura, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.