Talented Shakur Stevenson, powerful Edgar Berlanga, and disappointing Felix Verdejo
Though opposites in the squared circle, Shakur Stevenson and Edgar Berlanga have one thing in common.
They need stiffer competition.
Stevenson, who seems to improve every fight, is fluid and boxes with rhythm. He’s rarely hit and can look bored.
Berlanga is all about raw power. Tons.
He’s the stalking assassin while Stevenson is in the shadows, stabbing his opponents when they least expect it.
Stevenson pitched a 10-round shutout Saturday night over Toka Kawn Clary night at the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble. His jab was on the point from the opening bell. Stevenson hurt Kawn Clary in rounds one and two.
His dominance was sidetracked for a few seconds in round six when Kahn Clary clipped him with a shot. Stevenson, as if annoyed, hurt Kahn Clary in round seven and peppered him with the shots the rest of the way.
Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs), the WBO No. 1 junior lightweight contender, and former featherweight champion, is eyeing the winner of the Carl Frampton - Jamel Herring winner.
“I want the WBO belt first,” replied Stevenson. “Frampton and Herring have to come see me. After that, we want WBC world champion Miguel Berchelt.”
Berlanga talked rounds before his fight with veteran Ulises Sierra. Why? Because all of his 15 previous opponents have succumbed in the opening stanza. Sierra, who had trained with Canelo Alvarez and Andre Ward was expected to make it out of the first round.
Berlanga floored Sierra three times winning the fight at 2:40 seconds into, yes, round one. The Puerta Rican powerhouse, who idolizes former champion Felix Trinidad, attacks with malice. He fights like he’s got a hot date. His hands are loaded with TNT. It will be interesting to see who Top Rank matches him up with next.
There are some questions – perhaps put him in with a contender next? Test his chin.
In the early going of his fight with Masayoshi Nakatani, Felix Verdejo looked to be on the verge of an important victory. A win could lead to a matchup against Teofimo Lopez. Verdejo’s right hand in the opening round almost ended things. Nakatani fought back, went down again in round four from another right, but he did well after he got up.
He did even better in round five, avoiding Verdejo’s right and landing his own heavy punches. Verdejo did better in round six, but was hurt in round seven. Both fighters were stunned in round eight, but neither went down.
Verdejo still looked shaky after the shots he had taken in rounds seven and eight. A straight jab knocked Verdejo into the ropes and on all fours. Very hurt, he beat the count, but was down again after Nakatani clipped him with a right. The referee waved the fight off.
Time was 1:45.
Something of a stunner. Verdejo had turned his career around after being stopped a few years ago. Now it’s back to the drawing board.