When the duel between Miguel “Alacrán” Berchelt vs Oscar Valdez For the super featherweight world title, my first thought was: ‘The pandemic has made us realize that assuming that things are going to happen as they usually do is riskier than before.’
Following a cancellation in November due to a reported Berchelt had contracted Covid-19 and the fight fell apart as originally scheduled for December 12 (yes, Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico), that assumption was confirmed.
Now, with everything ready for this February 20 in the hotel ‘bubble’ MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Nevada, the fight of Scorpion Berchelt vs Oscar Valdez reaches its crossover point in what is expected to be an uncivil war in the ring.
As exponents of sweet science, Berchelt stands out for being located in the wildest stream, while Valdez transition to a style as a fighter-counterpuncher.
It is clear that his duel for the belt CMB evokes some of the greatest battles in this weight class, most notably the third among Erik morales Y Marco Barrera in 2004, which was the fight of the year for the magazine The Ring.
It should be noted that Berchelt Y Valdez dispute the lineage of this title that has been held by Julio Cesar Chavez, Floyd mayweather, Morales, Barrera, Manny Pacquiao Y Francisco Vargas, just to mention a few iconic super feather fighters.
However, and this is my considered opinion, neither Berchelt neither Valdez enjoy the worldwide fame and recognition that all of these (except perhaps Vargas), they had in their prime to become ambassadors for the division and at times the face of the sport before a wide international audience.
It is about two great boxers who reach their maturity at the right time in search of precisely that great victory over an antagonist of rank.
The two lack a win of this level, they are more recognized as pure action fighters against a fan base that ends up being a niche.
The appeal of the masses is elusive to both.
A victory, clear or dramatic, would put them on the threshold of that wide fame and recognition that both of them crave so much.
The stakes are high, the key to one day aspiring to the greatness of its legendary boxing predecessors, and perhaps being immortalized in the next decade, in the Hall of Fame of Boxing in Basket, New York, Start here.
Berchelt, the defending champion of the title CMB super feather, reaches Las Vegas as the favorite on the main platforms like DraftKings, FanDuel, Bet365 Y Hot.
On average, The Scorpion of Quintana Roo leads the bets with an average of -400 (you risk $ 400 to win $ 100), while the Sonora is down by +325 (you earn $ 325 for every $ 100).
But beyond the stakes, we must pay attention to the qualities, the quality of opposition that each one has faced and the moment.
Until press time, Berchelt He is a favorite by a ratio of 11 to 4.
In the case of DraftKings, the most popular betting line for the fight to end is under 8.5 rounds for Berchelt, and more than 8.5 rounds in case the underdog Valdez wins.
Whoever is the winning boxer will have the benefit of also acquiring the right to trade as a million dollar fighter per fight.
The keys to Alacrán Berchelt vs Óscar Valdez
Berchelt He was already defeated in the first round in March 2014 by the infamous Colombian Luis Flores in light weight, fighting in Palenque, Chiapas.
Valdez, the last time he lost was in 2012 in the knockout round of the London Olympics, in the bantamweight category against the Irish Joe Joseph Nevin, who finished as the silver medalist.
Both are vulnerable, not fragile, they remember the taste of defeat.
The key to the peninsula to unlock the fight of Alacrán Berchelt vs Óscar Valdez, in his attempt to retain the scepter CMB For the seventh time in a row, he will be applying his usual huge hitting volume.
Berchelt He stands out in the super featherweight division because he throws an average of 81 punches per round and hits 31.5, connecting 38.9%.
All of those marks are clearly above the historical average of Compubox, the computer service that records the beating, based in the United States, has analyzed the last 13 fights of the Alacrán.
ValdezFor his part, he barely has two fights in the 130-pound division, his sample is very small and only allows seeing the start of key patterns in his hitting.
Sonoran is below the averages of CompuBox in the division in almost all categories.
He throws 44.5 punches per round (division average 57.7), hits 14.22 (17.4) and connects 31.89% (30.2%).
What would the scorpion do?
Berchelt it is supported by the highest knockout percentage among holders of a world title at 130 pounds at 88%.
Has only covered the full 12-round distance against the former world champion Takashi miura on July 15, 2017 and has to date a streak of five knockouts in his last five defenses.
His most recent fight against Eleazar Valenzuela (stopped in 6 rounds), on June 27, 2020, was marked as ‘no contest’. And it was actually just an exhibition fight in the studio of Aztec TV to stay active, and was not endorsed by the Mexico City Boxing Commission.
Berchelt showed before Miura, a southpaw with hammers in his fists, who can box more and move with lateral steps to minimize the opponent’s attack. Even protecting forwards for a long time like he did after taking down the Japanese in the first round. Then, he knew how to contain the tide that came over him in the middle of the fight with the desperation of his rival, who was looking for a single blow to knock him out.
It is a boxing philosophy that he has hardly stopped seeing since then and that contrasts with how wild he has looked so much in his first fight with Vargas to take away the title, as in his other duels where he is not involved Miura.
According CompuBox, Berchelt hits 47% of his power shots, an absurd percentage more typical of a video game like Fight Night Champion (EA Sports), than a competition in real life.
But that’s the level that he has obtained Berchelt in the last seven years, mainly thanks to the development with his coach Alfredo Caballero, one of the best of Mexico.
What should you do Berchelt to defeat Valdez? The answer is very simple, but his execution in the ring may not be so simple.
Berchelt he must impose the rhythm of the highest hitting from the first round, usually kicks off his title defenses early and holds it up to the end.
He must also apply the natural advantages of height (1.70 mts) and reach (1.75 mts), plus the rehydration weight that he will easily have on fight night, climbing with at least 140 or 145 pounds to the ring.
Once presenting his physical and striking strengths, he must apply a perfect fight plan. gentleman mentioned me 13 days ago in Hermosillo that his ward is ready to fight in three distances. He does not believe this will go to the cards and neither does he consider that there is a possibility of one more fight with Valdez.
But that’s in theory, and sweet science is rich in non-compliance with theory. Scorpion must do a brain fight. And you must also be willing to chase Valdez until connecting it with power blows to the head and body that produce punishment and are clear to the perception of the judges.
He is not going to win this by speculating with the jab and only cutting the ring to look aesthetic, he has to apply orderly chaos, especially beyond the second part of the fight.
Berchelt he had a bad habit of hopping a lot before going the short distance to land his hooks and uppercuts. However, he still tends to keep his left hand extended when he announces and reloads heavily. It is a key gap that Valdez should take advantage.
What would Valdez do?
Clearly statistics and bets do not favor Valdez. And I think it’s also because the punditos and the bookies perceive him as a fragile guy who has been knocked down three times. And this includes his debut in the 1,000th fight of HBOon June 27, 2015 in a feature starring Tim bradley (G12) against Jesse vargas.
On par with the falls due to effective hitting, Valdez suffered a broken jaw against the English Scott quig, on March 10, 2018, in what was his fourth defense of the featherweight title OMB.
As a result of this fight, a change in style and culture in the gym was urgent.
Valdez he stopped his coach Manny robles to join the team of Eddy reynoso (the same as Canelo Alvarez), since February 2, 2019 he has it in his corner.
In four fights, the first two at featherweight, and the last two fighting already at the 130-pound limits, it is clear the new style that Reynoso, considered one of the best in the world, he has taught him.
The current version of Valdez he throws fewer punches in total, lands a slightly higher percentage of jabs and has managed to have a hitting index in favor of +16.7.
That is the statistical, in philosophy Valdez it transitions towards a counterpunching style.
What must Valdez do to beat Berchelt?
Oscar you must take advantage of your increased hand and foot speed. It also looks less robotic than Berchelt it is still when he pounces trying to land lots of punches.
His defense is still porous and although he has clearly improved he is still not at the level that allows him to wobble, zigzag and use both hips and head to avoid most of Berchelt’s power blows.
Valdez, who does stand out for having better balance when throwing power combinations, should set traps using feints and legs. This, to be able to explode with a counter, mainly with his left hand looking for the jaw of Berchelt.
Valdez will throw many jabs with the intention of missing to invite Berchelt to the bag and try to combine with higher speed up and down. His knockout percentage is 78.5% and he clearly won’t be the best punch that Berchelt has faced in his champion stage.
Yes Oscar limits the volume of Berchelt in 75 or less punches thrown and 25 or less connected per round, and he elevates it by connecting higher percentage in power punches ‘catching’ it off balance we will have a close fight on the cards that could give him a decision victory divided into 12 rounds .
Valdez already has some experience fighting taller and heavier guys like him, like the case of Quigg. But he has also been brought down by rivals like Adam Lopez, on November 30, 2019, who sent him to the canvas in the second round, even despite scoring 126 pounds for 130 of Valdez on the scale.
After a frontal fight, where the reckless warrior DNA is going to be evident in the ring, Berchelt should win the fight. This, then battling in the first half against a competent rival, who punished him with ‘counters’ in each round, which forced him to economize on hitting and which forced him to search deep within his being the power of punishment and boxing foundations to to beat a resilient challenger, better trained tactically and physically than him, but who ultimately fell apart.
The fight of Alacrán Berchelt vs Óscar Valdez, will take it Berchelt by TKO at 11.