The New York State Athletic Commission is prepared to take a bite out of Edgar Berlanga’s paycheck and career.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that a fine and suspension awaits the unbeaten super middleweight prospect due to his in-ring conduct in his most recent bout. Berlanga outpointed Roamer Alexis Angulo over ten rounds this past Saturday at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City, but not before attempting to bite the former title challenger in the seventh round of their ESPN-televised main event.
The Brooklyn-based Boricua went undisciplined on fight night but the matter was since turned over to the NYSAC, who presided over the event. A message left with the NY commission went unreturned as this goes to publish, though BoxingScene.com has learned that Berlanga will likely face a six-month suspension and a $10,000 fine.
ESPN’s Mike Coppinger first reported the development, citing that the matter remains under investigation.
The fight marked the fourth straight time that Berlanga (20-0, 16KOs) was extended the distance after scoring sixteen consecutive first-round knockouts to begin his career. The 2020 BoxingScene.com Prospect of the Year faced a stiff challenge in Angulo (27-3, 23KOs), whose previous defeats came in separate super middleweight title bids versus then-WBO titlist Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez in June 2018 and then-WBC titleholder David Benavidez in August 2020.
Judges Bernard Bruni (98-92), Ken Ezzo (99-91) and Don Trella (99-91) all had Berlanga comfortably ahead in a fight most viewers and ringside observers saw as a more competitive affair than the scores suggested. Berlanga remained composed for much of the night but was admittedly bothered by what he claimed was frequent elbows from the Colombian fringe contender.
“He was throwing elbows. I was about to do a Mike Tyson on him,” Berlanga noted immediately after the fight, referencing Tyson’s biting off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear in their June 1997 rematch, which earned the Hall of Fame former heavyweight champ a one-year suspension and a record $3,000,000 fine as ruled by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. “He kept throwing his elbows, and I didn’t want to get cut.
To his credit, Berlanga—following a good night’s rest and upon celebrating the 65th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade—walked back his own comments and offered a heartfelt apology.
“I want to apologize for my actions and what I said yesterday about the Mike Tyson bite,” Berlanga stated in a two-part tweet this past Sunday. “I was in the moment and I got a little ahead of myself. It doesn’t take away from the embarrassment that I have caused upon myself, my team, [Top Rank], and many others.
“I reacted poorly and take full responsibility. Moving forward, I am going to be more mindful and encouraging in my behavior. Once again, I do apologize.”
Despite the Tyson reference, the incident was more in line with the last bite fight in New York. Fringe contender Ivan Redkach was issued a one-year suspension and $10,000 fine by the NYSAC for biting former two-division champion Danny Garcia in the eighth round of their January 2020 welterweight title eliminator at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The two were in a clinch in the final minute of the round, when Redkach leaned in and bit Garcia on the side of his neck.
Garcia laughed off the incident in real time, though did acknowledge the act to referee Benjy Esteves at the time. Redkach was not deducted any points for the infraction, though he was dealt a harsher blow in the days following the event.
Similarly, Berlanga’s in-ring actions went undisciplined by referee Ricky Gonzalez on Saturday though not to say that he was able to get away with the act. His fate now rests in the hands of the NYSAC pending their ruling on the matter.
Offending parties have the right to appeal the final decision, though BoxingScene.com has been informed that Berlanga and promoter Top Rank are prepared to fully comply with whatever punishment is issued.
The fight came three months after Berlanga headlined at the same venue in a ten-round win over Steve Rolls this past March.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox