The question surrounding any opponent brought in for Edgar Berlanga is whether or not they will be able to make it to the second round.
Demond Nicholson isn’t stressing over that concern. He has much loftier goals in mind.
“We’re not thinking about getting out of the first round, we’re thinking about being the first to hand him a loss,” Nicholson told BoxingScene.com ahead of his challenging Berlanga this Saturday on ESPN from Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida. “This ain’t about what he can do after the first round, not for us. All we’re thinking about is beating this guy and seeing what it leads to for my career.
“After I beat Berlanga, we want the big names. We want Gennadiy Golovkin. We want Danny Jacobs, all those guys."
Maryland’s Nicholson (23-3-1, 20KOs) brings his own brand of power into the ring, as evidenced by his impressive 87% knockout-to-win percentage. Of course, it hasn’t come with the level of hype surrounding that of Berlanga (16-0, 16KOs), a Brooklyn-bred Boricua who has scored 1st round knockouts in each of his 16 pro fights to date.
“That’s exactly why we took this fight, it’s an opportunity,” notes Nicholson, who hasn’t fought since a 10-round decision win over Mike Guy last February in Hanover, Maryland, mere minutes from his Laurel hometown. “This win takes me to the top.”
Berlanga himself is a long way from that point, though comes in riding a wave of celebrity fanfare. A 1st round knockout of Ulises Sierra last December aired live in primetime on ESPN, with this Saturday marking his fourth straight network appearance.
The bout serves as the chief support to a WBO featherweight title fight with Mexico’s Navarrete (33-1, 28KOs), the defending champ who faces local favorite Christopher ‘Pitufo’ Diaz (26-2, 16KOs) atop the bill. Diaz enjoys a healthy following in the heavily Puerto Rican-populated greater Orlando area, thought it was Berlanga who boasted the greatest success in packing the socially distanced venue.
Nicholson is well aware that he enters the fight as the B-side and as a considerable underdog. What matters more to him is the status he will enjoy with an upset win on Saturday.
“This is the best opportunity I’ve ever had in my career,” insists Nicholson. “This win takes me to the top.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox