Edgar Berlanga felt the weight of carrying an ESPN/Top Rank event on Saturday night as the Puerto Rican tried to bite his opponent.
The super middleweight contender, who was voted WBN World Title Prospect in 2021, seemed to choke under the pressure in a drab performance.
“The Chosen One” didn’t get the knockout, but in front of the Puerto Rican faithful, he got the job done.
Berlanga (20-0, 16 KOs) defeated two-time world title challenger Alexis Angulo (27-3, 23 KOs) by unanimous decision 99-91 [twice] and 98-92 over 10 rounds in front of 4,357 fans Saturday evening at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
It was Berlanga’s first headlining appearance on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, a tradition made popular by 2022 International Hall of Fame inductee Miguel Cotto.
While Berlanga rose to fame following 16 first-round knockouts to start his career, he won this fight by boxing and using his jab to offset the plodding-yet-aggressive Angulo. An Angulo uppercut bloodied Berlanga’s nose in the fourth, and Berlanga appeared to attempt to bite Angulo in the seventh. Berlanga landed clean left hooks and right hands in the ninth and 10th rounds, but his Colombian foe ate all the shots and kept coming.
“Mentally, I felt good. I felt happy the whole training camp. But I moved the training camp to Puerto Rico,
“I can’t be more grateful to be on my island training,” Berlanga said. “I did a full camp for this fight. You see the difference tonight.”
EDGAR BERLANGA BITE
Addressing the bite, Berlanga added: “He was throwing elbows. I was about to do a Mike Tyson on him. He kept throwing his elbows, and I didn’t want to get cut.”
Angulo said, “I think we both had a solid performance. He’s a young fighter, he’s a strong fighter.
“But nonetheless, I think we both did well. I think I did better than him.”