Edgar Berlanga isn’t sure if Demond Nicholson will finally become the opponent to take him into the second round of a professional fight.
The Brooklyn-based knockout artist still considers Nicholson an incremental step up in competition from Ulises Sierra. Berlanga, who has begun his career with 16 straight first-round knockouts, became the first opponent to stop Sierra inside the distance when the super middleweight prospect defeated him by first-round technical knockout December 12 in Las Vegas.
Nicholson has lost by TKO twice, most recently to Jesse Hart nearly three years ago in Philadelphia. Since his loss to Hart (26-3, 21 KOs), the 28-year-old Nicholson (23-3-1, 20 KOs), of Laurel, Maryland, has won five consecutive fights.
“He’s a good fighter, Demond Nicholson,” Berlanga told BoxingScene.com. “There’s nothing really that I can say about the guy. The only thing I can say is he better be prepared for fireworks, because I’m coming with mine.”
ESPN will air Berlanga-Nicholson as the opener of a doubleheader April 24 from Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida. Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete (33-1, 28 KOs) will defend his WBO featherweight title against Puerto Rico’s Christopher Diaz (26-2, 16 KOs) in the 12-round main event.
The durable Sierra (15-2-2, 9 KOs) was supposed to give the 23-year-old Berlanga rounds in his last bout, but Berlanga knocked him down three times in the first round. Referee Russell Mora stopped their scheduled eight-rounder with 20 seconds remaining in the opening round.
“I feel like he’s better [than Sierra],” Berlanga said of Nicholson. “I feel like he’s my best opponent to date. He has better experience. He has a good amateur background. You know, he has fought Jesse Hart. He has fought a couple guys that’s really good. But that don’t really determine whether he’s gonna take me to go rounds or anything. For me, it’s like once he’s in there with me, it’s a different story.”
The hard-hitting Berlanga promised Sierra he would learn that lesson immediately December 12 at MGM Grand Conference Center. San Diego’s Sierra questioned the legitimacy of Berlanga’s power before a fight ESPN televised, but Berlanga didn’t need much time to convince him.
“I really wanted to hurt him,” Berlanga said. “I was saying that before the fight and after the fight. I really wanted to hurt him. He just felt like he was something different. You know, he was talking a lot of smack before the fight, too. So, it got me upset. When you’re stepping in there with me, you’ve gotta come with respect. I just had to lay it down on him.
“I was thinking about it during the middle of the [round], like, ‘I’ll probably let him go to the second round.’ But I said, ‘You know what? Nah, this guy don’t deserve that.’ So, I took him out.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.