Diego Pacheco is looking to prove his ceiling is much higher than fellow upstart Edgar Berlanga.
Pacheco (19-0, 16 KOs) will have a shot to make his case on Saturday when he takes on Marcelo Esteban Coceres (32-5-1) at the YouTube Theater at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California to headline a Matchroom Boxing card on DAZN.
The Argentinian veteran Coceres has been matched tough ever since transitioning into a 168-pound fighter in 2019 by challenging then-titleholder Billy Joe Saunders.
Although Coceres suffered an 11th-round stoppage loss against Saunders during his only world title fight, he fought tough and was up on one of the cards.
In October 2021, Coceres fought to a 10-round unanimous decision loss against Berlanga but dropped the Brooklyn-based boxer in the ninth round. All three judges scored the competitive clash 96-93.
After starting his career 15-0 with 15 first-round knockouts, the 26-year-old Berlanga has lost some sizzle from his ascending career, fighting to five straight unanimous decision wins against Jason Quigley, Roamer Alexis Angulo, Steve Rolls, Demond Nicholson, and Coceras.
The 22-year-old five-year pro Pacheco already believes he’s better than Berlanga (21-0, 16 KOs).
“One hundred percent [my career and skills are more advanced and progressed and I have more all-around talent than Berlanga],” Pacheco told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “I'm not a fighter who just relies on one certain thing. I can do everything in the ring. I have a lot of tools in my toolbox. It's just something that's in me.
“I've told my whole team that I am ready for the Berlanga fight. My team feels that I am ready. We asked for that fight already, so hopefully that fight comes through. It will be a really big fight to cement my name in the 168-pound division as one of the best. I'm looking for fights that I can prove myself, and they will come. I am with a great promoter in Matchroom who makes all these fights happen.”
A pitting between Pacheco and Berlanga can be possible if Eddie Hearn is inclined to make the fight.
Berlanga has expressed bigger plans over the last year, however, calling for the likes of undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.
As confident as Pacheco is that he’s better than Berlanga, he insists that he’s not overlooking the rugged Coceres.
“He's given world champions a run for their money with great fights. He gave Edgar Berlanga -- a guy people want to see me matched up with -- his toughest fight yet,” said Pacheco.
“I want to go in there and show the difference in levels ... and really just outclass Marcelo. My skills and hard work will be the difference. But a lot of people think it's going to be a tough fight [for me] because of the fights that he's been in the past. But this is where I get to show where my level is and the difference in my skills compared to who he's fought.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.