Top Rank and ESPN have announced that Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) vs Oscar Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs) is on for February 20, and Valdez’s manager, Frank Espinoza, couldn’t be happier. “I’m excited. This is one of those fights that will cement both of these fighters’ legacy. These are two of the best and most exciting fighters on the planet,” he continued. “When they meet, it will be an incredible explosion. This is a can’t miss fight.”
The bout was originally scheduled for Dec. 12, but Berchelt came down with COVID and the fight was postponed.
Berchelt, 29, will be defending the WBC junior lightweight title. Valdez, 30, the former WBO featherweight champion, was last active on July 21 when he defeated Jayson Velez by 10th round TKO.
“We kept Oscar training. We knew this fight would eventually happen so we really prepared. Oscar spent his time in Guadalajara training with ‘Canelo’s’ trainer Eddie Reynoso,” said Espinoza. “I think keeping him active was key. He kept his training going and we expect him to be sharp and in the best shape of his career on February 20.”
Taking on Berchelt is no easy task. The Yucatán based fighter doesn’t believe in taking a backward step.
“He’s a gritty, no-nonsense fighter. He has zero quit in him and is extremely strong,” said Espinoza. “Fortunately, Eddie Reynoso is on our team and he’s dealt with these types of fighters before. Eddie has devised a special game plan for this fight. It’s going to take a lot of discipline, patience, and intelligence. These are all qualities that Oscar has and I see him beating Berchelt in what will be a fight of the year candidate.”
Reynoso has become one of boxing’s most highly sought after trainers. “He’s a great trainer and a teacher. Eddie has made some great changes in Oscar’s defense,” Espinoza said. “I like working with the best and Eddie is definitely the best trainer in the sport and a tremendous asset to our team.”
The importance of this fight doesn’t escape him.
“Every fighter eventually has that fight that will define his or her legacy. Winning this fight will bring Oscar to the next level,” said Espinoza. “This is Oscar’s time. He’s ready for the glory and its rewards.”
Espinoza also managed Israel Vazquez during his epic fight series versus Rafael Marquez. Espinoza sees the same qualities in this match up. “There are definite similarities. These are also two very exciting and dangerous fighters in their prime,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if this fight is just as action-packed. These are high quality fighters with a lot of pride and extremely hungry. A lot is on the line.”
Espinoza finished. “If you’re a true boxing fan then you can’t miss this one. Forget all the other big matchups. This is the one you have to see. Oscar has a real sense of history. He wants to be a fighter that everyone will remember and talk about. And he wants that prestigious WBC belt. The green belt. This fight means everything to Oscar so expect him to leave it all in the ring.”