Jose Valenzuela passed a test versus his most experienced opponent to date.
The unbeaten junior welterweight prospect enjoyed a quick turnaround, fighting for the second time in four weeks as he outfought Colombia’s Deiner Berrio over ten rounds. Judges Abe Belardo (100-90), Rudy Barragan (99-91) and Ralph McKnight (98-92) all scored in favor of Valenzuela in the PBC on FS1 main event Saturday evening at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield, California.
Valenzuela jumped out to a strong start, putting his three-inch height and reach advantage to good use. The 22-year-old Mexican southpaw pawed with his jab while finding greater success with his lead left hand. Berrio—who entered the fight having won just once in four bouts outside of his native Colombia—offered angles but little in the way of an offensive response to Valenzuela’s combination punching.
Berrio landed his best punch of the fight early in round three, a right hand after eating several jabs. Valenzuela took the shot well, rocking the 30-year-old Colombian with a left hand.
The most telling blow of the round, however, came during a clinch and ended with Berrio looking for a way out of the fight. Valenzuela was warned for hitting on the break, throwing a left hand that landed on the back of the neck of Berrio who began to roll around the canvas claiming to be disoriented and in pain. Referee Ray Corona didn’t buy it, though properly used the break in the action to evaluate the fallen boxer before allowing the bout to continue.
After being outworked by a near four-to-one margin through four rounds, Berrio picked up the pace in round five—the first time in his career he has been forced to advance this far in a fight. Valenzuela was still outworking Berrio by a considerable margin, though sacrificing his defense in the process. Berrio was able to capitalize, landing two right hands over the course of the round and prompting Valenzuela to adjust.
Valenzuela went back on the attack in round six, entering the frame having already thrown a career-high 430 punches. He wasn’t even close to done, using his jab as a rangefinder to score with straight left hands as Berrio returned to defensive mode in an effort to ride out the mid-fight storm.
It came with purpose, as Berrio was not without his moments in rounds seven and eight. Valenzuela continued to dictate the pace, though his offense coming at the expense of leaving his chin in the air. Berrio made him pay in round eight, connecting with an overhand right which briefly rocked Valenzuela though serving as an isolated moment.
Valenzuela used more in and out movement in round nine, poking with hls straight left hand and then immediately stepping back as Berrio looked to counter. Keeping his guard up remained problematic for Valenzuela, who was clipped with three right hands from Berrio in the back half of the round.
Blood flowed from the right nostril of Valenzuela, who waved his arms in urging crowd support heading into the tenth and final round. Both boxers provided plenty of cause for applause, letting their hands go and showing little regard for defense in the final round. Valenzuela threw power shots with the intention of becoming the first to stop Berrio, who withstood the incoming and responded with an overhand right to rock the unbeaten Mexican late in the fight.
Berrio falls to 22-4-1 (13KOs), as he is now just 1-4 outside of Colombia. Still, he provided a stiff test for Valenzuela, who learned a lot about himself as he advanced to 10-0 (5KOs).
Valenzuela’s five-fight knockout streak ends in addition to going ten rounds for the first time as a pro. The win is his fourth of 2021, including a fourth round knockout just four weeks ago on the August 21 undercard of Yordenis Ugas’ twelve-round win over Manny Pacquiao at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.