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The Super Featherweight Suddenly Becomes Intriguingly Exciting

By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Tue, 23 Feb 2021

Valdez drops Berchelt.

How I wish we have somebody with just even half of vintage Manny Pacquiao's qualities fighting in the super featherweight right now.

For with Oscar Valdez stunning upset 10th round lights out knockout victory over Miguel Berchelt last Saturday night in Las Vegas (Sunday morning in PH), the 130 pounds class suddenly becomes intriguingly exciting.

Not because the win crowned a new undisputed best in the weight class but because it leaves the division as widely open as ever for any of the half dozen other world titlists and top contenders to prove their claims to ultimate supremacy.

Valdez's victory makes him the new WBC super featherweight champion of the world and the new leading 130 lbs fighter as Berchelt, for much of his reign, had been considered as such by the Ring Magazine and the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board.

(You would be surprised to know that Boxrec Annual Rating for 2020 had Valdez rated higher than Berchelt based on its unique algorithm).

But Berchelt could have be considered as the top 130 pounder due to the fact that he won his title from a fabled fellow Mexican warrior Francisco Bandido Vargas in a highly publicized war of attrition in 2017, winning by late round stoppage.

Vargas had earlier earned legendary status with his shootout victory for the WBC title over Takashi Miura, one of the famous Takashis, the other being Takashi Uchiyama who held the WBA version for six long years.

Berchelt also strengthened his case for the top by outpointing Miura and later repeating over Vargas by retirement and defeating Jason Sosa, Maxwell Awuku, Jonathan Barros and Miguel Roman in successful title defenses, all via the short route.

The fact that Berchelt remained steady and undefeated as champion while titlists in other major sanctioning bodies come and go the past more than four years also helped in his image as the division's leading fighter.

Leading, not necessarily the best fighter. For Vasily Lomachenko had that tag when he had his stint at 130 as WBO titleholder.

And now that leading fighter tag has gone to Valdez who after defeating Berchelt echoed what many champions before and since have saying: to be the best.

To be the best, he has to fight and beat the other champions namely Gervonta Tank Davis (WBA), Joseph Jojo Diaz (IBF) and Jamel Herring (WBO).

Apart from these, he has to defend against his number one contender Shakur Stevenson. And there's still Leo Santacruz and a possible rematch with Berchelt.

Despite his generally perceived brilliant win over Berchelt, still there are people not convinced that they saw the real Miguel Berchelt in there that night. It was reported that Berchelt had some problems making the weight for the fight. Some said he rehydrated too much after struggling to meet the limit and it affected his speed, reflexes and stamina.

I don't know if it was Eddy Reynoso's brilliant fight plan executed to perfection by Valdez using his speed, jabbing and lethal left hook that did Berchelt in.

But I did not see the Berchelt I saw smartly boxing using his jabs to set up his voluminous combination and counters and evasively defending against the likes of Vargas, Miura and Roman and even the smaller Sosa, all in virtual chess war of attrition.

What I saw was a Berchelt in an unfamiliar aggressive, attacking mode from the get go, going defensive only when brutally floored in the fourth but going back to attack by the sixth until he was downed hard again in the ninth from which he never recovered.

It could indeed be that Berchelt has had issues with the weight and he had to start fast and attack and attempt to finish the fight ASAP before the effects of making the limit hit him.

Given these, the way I see it, the verdict is still up on Valdez as the new top man of the division. And the battle for supremacy is still wide open.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at and by phone 09215309477.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.

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