Edgar Berlanga jabs his way to decision over Alexis Angulo at MSG
Edgar Berlanga may or may not be the next Puerto Rican star in boxing, but it’s safe to say he’s the most popular Boricua boxer in New York.
The 4,357 fans who packed the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, sang along with reggaeton legend Don Omar as he performed his iconic track “Los Bandoleros.”
There was little more for the crowd to get excited about until the scores were read. Berlanga (20-0, 16 knockouts) remained undefeated, outjabbing two-time world title challenger Alexis Angulo over ten rounds to earn the scores of 99-91 on two cards and 98-92 on the third.
“Everybody wanted a knockout but I feel like this was my best performance yet,” said Berlanga, who adds that he wanted to prove to the public that he could box as well as punch.
Most were accustomed to seeing the Brooklyn-based Nuyorican blasting out opponents, just as he had against his thirteen first round victims to start his pro career. Instead, they saw a 25-year-old prospect gaining experience on the job, fighting the urge to throw hands with reckless abandon.
Berlanga, who was fighting for the first time under new trainer Juan De Leon, says he expects to fight again in December, either in New York or in Puerto Rico.
Despite the win, there was plenty to question about Berlanga’s performance. He frequently looked up at the ring clock in clinches, as if concerned about his stamina. Berlanga attempted to bite Angulo’s ear in a seventh round clinch, a Tyson-esque move which he says was in response to Angulo’s elbows and headbutts.
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There were other incidents that happened as part of a fighter’s growth, which has happened under greater scrutiny than most fighters who are getting out of the first round for just the fourth time. His nose began to bleed in the third and fourth, though he showed a sturdy chin whenever he took clean shots from Angulo, whose only losses were in title fights to David Benavidez and Gilberto Ramirez.
Angulo (27-3, 23 KOs) of Patia, Colombia showed some veteran durability, keeping his hands high while trying to lure Berlanga into trading punches. He never appeared to be hurt, though his ability to absorb punches may have been aided by him missing the super middleweight limit by more than a pound.
The bout was Angulo’s first outing in a year, when he stopped the unheralded Carlos Galvan in five rounds in the Dominican Republic.