Edgar Berlanga “Needed That Adversity” Last Time Out
Coming up on Saturday night three of Puerto Rico’s young stars are ready for the Madison Square Garden spotlight in the latest Top Rank Boxing show.
Super Middleweight sensation Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga (18-0, 16 KOs) makes his main event debut Saturday evening in a 10-rounder versus longtime contender Steve Rolls (21-1, 12 KOs). And, Xander Zayas (12-0, 9 KOs) takes the co-feature stage in an eight-round Junior Middleweight bout against Louisiana-born spoiler Quincy LaVallais (12-2-1, 7 KOs).
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And, at Thursday’s final press conference, the unbeaten Berlanga made clear that he believes his injury and having to battle through it the last time out will help him in the future.
“I’m feeling amazing. I want to thank Top Rank and ESPN for finally making it happen here back home. It’s a blessing, man. I’m looking forward to Saturday.”
“It’s about adversity. In my last fight, I tore my biceps in the third round. I broke the guy’s orbital bone in three places. I would have stopped the fight in the 10th, but I got dropped in the ninth. So, for me, I just feel I needed that for my career. I needed that adversity.”
“Every fighter goes through that in their career, especially being this young. I know I was going to come out of that adversity because having a torn biceps in the third round and fighting seven rounds like that—a lot of fighters would have quit because the pain is just ridiculous. But I took it as it came. We got the victory. I won the WBO NABO title, and we moved to Las Vegas, and now we’re here ready for Saturday.”
Hear us discussing Berlanga’s return on the latest “Big Fight Weekend Podcast” with guest Manouk Akopyan of the L.A. Times and Boxingscene.com,
The hard punching Berlanga began his career with 16 straight first round KOs, but went the distance twice last year and had to overcome adversity in the second bout. This, as he had to have surgery to repair a torn biceps suffered last October against Marcelo Esteban Coceres.
The veteran Rolls hopes to provide solid competition Saturday and said Thursday,
“I think he wants to step up and get closer to a world title shot. He wants a challenge. That’s why they chose me. I’m sure he could have taken an easier route. But, credit to him for picking an opponent of my caliber.”
“I’m going to bring experience into this fight. I still got big goals that I have and that I need to accomplish. That’s all that fight was [against Golovkin]. It wasn’t a fight where I was getting blown out or that wasn’t competitive. I made a mistake. He has experience. And I think that’s going to serve me well on Saturday night.”
Meanwhile, the equally talented youngster Zayas gets a great spot in the co-feature at the Garden. And he told the media Thursday,
“I’m super excited. It’s my first fight of the year. It’s an eight-rounder against a great opponent. That’s what we were looking for. I’m ready to put on a show Saturday night.”
“It’s a good fight. I wouldn’t say it’s the biggest challenge yet because the biggest challenge is yet to come. It’s another stepping stone. I’ve got to put on a show. I’ve got to make a statement and show the world that I’m here to stay.”
In the eight-round televised opener, junior welterweight John “El Terrible” Bauza (16-0, 7 KOs) steps up in class against Canadian veteran Tony “Lightning” Luis (29-4, 10 KOs).
The televised tripleheader kicks off at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+). Undercard action will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ (7:15 p.m. ET) and includes the return of Brooklyn-born Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (2-0, 1 KO), Kelvin Davis (3-0, 2 KOs), and rising junior lightweight Henry Lebron (14-0, 9 KOs).