Edgar Berlanga meets the undefeated Irishman Padraig McCrory in Orlando, Florida this Saturday, when the moving parts in one of boxing’s brightest weight classes will again shuffle.

The super middleweight division has got the sport talking – several top contenders are in pursuit of boxing’s top draw, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

There are, among others, David Benavidez, Jaime Munguia, David Morrell, Diego Pacheco, Jermall Charlo, Christian Mbilli, and Caleb Plant, who are all factors at the top of the tree.

Former welterweight champion Shawn Porter believes that Berlanga needs to show signs of improvement against Irishman McCrory at the Caribe Royale. 

The New Yorker Berlanga, 26 and of Puerto Rican heritage, opened his professional career with 16 consecutive first-round knockouts, and then went the distance in his next five fights.

“The ring will tell the truth about you,” Porter told ProBox TV while discussing Berlanga. “I think we learned the truth after we saw the knockouts. We saw he lacked a lot of the fundamentals that are needed to be at the top of the game. What he was doing was getting him to the top, and then it was almost as if he stalemated himself, because of bad performances. 

“I think Jaime Munguia is more than likely the next big fight for him after this [McCrory] fight he has coming up. What we’ve seen from Edgar is we’ve seen him not progress, and that is a problem when you’re 26, you haven’t gotten any better over the years after so many one round knockouts and then on top of that, once you start having to go the distance, we’re seeing holes in your game, we’re seeing those same holes in your game two fights later. It’s showing you’re not going to get better. 

“You are who you are. Let’s capitalise on what you’ve done before we lose it, because all it takes is the right guy that doesn’t have a name to knock him down and get a decision over him and then it’s all kaput.”

Porter thinks Plant is still a threat, despite defeats by arguably the two division leaders. Plant is 31 and 22-2 with 13 early wins, and he stopped Anthony Dirrell between his losses to Canelo in 2021 and Benavidez in 2023.

Porter believes Plant has the beating of Munguia and is certain Plant would beat Berlanga.

“I think the Canelo fight got him [Plant] prepared for the David Benavidez fight,” Porter said, of Plant performing better against Benavidez than Canelo. “When you go to the top and you don’t get what you want, now the question becomes, ‘Are you the gatekeeper? How much longer are you going to go and all these things?’.

“I can tell you that Caleb is training right now – he loves this sport, and he has no intention of having two more fights and quitting… He still wants it.”

Porter also has his eyes on two of the division’s upcoming stars, Mbilli and Pacheco.

Top Rank’s Frenchman Mbilli – born in Cameroon – is 26-0 with 22 stoppages and impressed with a January destruction of brave Australian Rohan Murdock. Matchroom’s Pacheco is 20-0 with 12 KOs and boxes in Las Vegas in April.

Of Mbilli, Porter said: This guy is one of the hardest hitting super middleweights in the world right now. He’s got a good look; he’s got good experience; I’ve looked at his amateur pedigree; he’s got the goods. He’s a name that flies under the radar but he has everything to take him to the top.”

Porter was concerned that there were so many unbeaten fighters in the weight category because it meant the best are not boxing the best, but he is equally high on Pacheco’s potential.

“He’s 6ft 2ins, I’m a 100 per cent fan of him,” Porter stated. “He can box; he can hit hard.”