Edgar Berlanga says Top Rank wanted him off the headliners

From Brian Weber: Edgar Berlanga says that one factor that led to his parting ways with Top Rank was that the promotional company wanted to downgrade him to co-main event status in order to remove him from headlining, as he previously has was.

Now a free agent, Berlanga (20-0, 16 KOs) is in demand with all the top promoters, including two from PBC and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.

Berlanga, 25, doesn’t say which direction he’s leaning towards, but he smiled when asked about signing with Hearn.

The British promoter has promised Berlanga a fight against Canelo Alvarez next year provided he wins two or three fights against world-class opponents to prove he belongs in the ring with the Mexican superstar.

As far as top-ranking goes, it’s understandable why they wanted to get Berlanga into co-main event status because he hasn’t looked good in his last four bouts after taking him from fighting League Two opposition to fringe contenders had.

What was perhaps the final straw was Berlanga’s attempt to bite his last opponent, Roamer Alexis Angulo, as he struggled with the pressure he was receiving from former world title challenger.

Top Rank wanted to demote Berlanga

“They wanted me to return to the co-main event and obviously that was a different matter. We don’t want that,” Berlanga told iFL TV about Top Rank, who wanted to oust Edgar Berlanga from the headlining spots.

I felt like I had my numbers done. I had fought against top opponents. I had done my thing unanimously and sold out the damn hula theater [Madison Square Garden] Back to back. Who does that? No fighter does that,” Berlanga said.

It’s unclear if Berlanga is intentionally disingenuous when he says he “fought top opposition,” because that clearly wasn’t the case. The last four opponents Berlanga has fought have been fringe contenders, not top opposition.

Berlanga’s last four opponents:

  • Wanderer Alexis Angulo
  • Steve Rolls – 38 years old
  • Marcelo Esteban Coceres
  • Demon Nicolson

“Of course if we [Top Rank] separate and separate ways, I knew my worth. To see that the promoters want me and are now fighting for me,” said Berlanga. “Like I said, it’s a blessing. I am blessed. I say that humbly. I feel great to be in this position.”

Berlanga’s comment about knowing his worth is similar to what Teofimo Lopez said as he pushed his fight against George Kambosos Jr into a prize money situation.

That turned out to be a total disaster for Teofimo as he was sidelined for nearly a year after Top Rank lost the bid to another promotional outfit.

Hopefully Berlanga’s career doesn’t go downhill when his next few promoters pit him against A-level opponents he doesn’t seem ready for.

Not only will Berlanga not get the Canelo fight if he is beaten by the top contenders he feels ready to fight for, but his career will fizzle out overnight

“Al Haymon is definitely in the picture. I just got off the phone with him the day before yesterday. He now wants to shoot here as soon as possible to meet me in person. It’s starting to get really hot. I’m just enjoying it,” Berlanga said.

Bidding war for Edgar

“I know that the organizers don’t take that to heart,” said Berlanga. “You know what comes with wanting to sign a hot prospect or a hot contender like me. It comes with the territory everyone wants to sign me.

“It’s a bidding war right now. It’s a question mark. I’ll pass that along,” Berlanga said when asked if Eddie Hearn was the front-runner to sign him. “Right now Eddie is an amazing guy; He is a legend. I’ll say that in a moment. He is a legend.

“Possibly you could see us with him, or you could see with Al [Haymon], depending on whether we still talk to him. Of course when I met with Eddie yesterday, he pushed for it,” Berlanga said of Hearn dangling the Canelo Alvarez fight for him.

“He said, ‘Edgar, I see you doing your thing and massively winning a fight or two and then going straight for Canelo.’ He said Canelo wants it and thinks it’s a good idea. Everyone thinks it’s a good idea. I am Puerto Rican. I have the whole island behind me.

“He’s Mexican. So imagine you fill up an arena in Vegas and you have half the sides with Mexican flags and half the side with Puerto Rican flags and the stadium collapses.

Berlanga has the look

“Of course, many organizers need that. They love fighters who look good, fight well, it looks good, it’s young, it has a country behind it and it sells,” said Berlanga. “If you have the whole package like this, you can be in my position as I am right now.

“Of course, with the opportunity and with the promoters wanting me and such, whoever we decide to go with Eddie [Hearn]it would be massive,” said Berlanga when asked if he would like to fight on the main support pitch on the Amanda Serrano vs. Katie Taylor II map on May 20 in Dublin, Ireland.

“I wouldn’t mind being the co-main. This is my sister[ter]’Man,’ said Berlanga, referring to his good friend Serrano]. We’ve watched each other grow into the fighters we are today.

“Look, right now with Top Rank, like I’ve told everyone, they wanted certain things that we didn’t want and we wanted to move in a certain way that they didn’t want to move.

“There were a lot of meetings and we went back and forth. We said, ‘Okay, we want that,’ and they said, ‘We’ll get back to you.’ Later that night, we get a call, ‘No, we don’t want that. That’s what we want to do.’ So there were a lot of misunderstandings.

“It wasn’t great communication. There has been so much going on in these meetings over the past four months that my team and I made a decision and said we should walk away from them.

“Obviously it’s not working anymore. We no longer agree as fighters and supporters. I might as well continue and advance my career,” Berlanga said.

Hearn eager to sign Berlanga

“Edgar Berlanga is a fighter that everyone wants. Us, PBC, he was obviously on ESPN, Golden Boy,” Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn told media last Saturday night. “I think we have a great plan for him.

“We can make him headlines; We can continue his rise, continue his popularity and ultimately give him the fight against Canelo Alvarez,” continued Hearn.

“He has to prove against world-class opponents that he’s capable of fighting Canelo Alvarez, but it’s Mexico versus Puerto Rico. It’s a massive fight, but he still has to have those fights. We’d love to give him those fights before we look at Canelo Alvarez in May 2024.

“He’s scored huge goals here before [Madison Square Garden in New York]; He’s a big star. Edgar Berlanga is a headline attraction,” Hearn said.


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