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By Steve Kim Updated on March 28, 2022

A Hard Fall for Berchelt

 

Coming into his bout 13 months ago versus Oscar Valdez, Miguel Berchelt was considered the most fearsome junior lightweight in the game, and one of the sports most exciting performers. But on the night of February 20, 2021,  Berchelt was brutally knocked out by Valdez to lose his WBC title.

This past Saturday night at the Resorts World Las Vegas, he was stopped in six by Jeremia Nakathila, after taking a battering for much of the night. Berchelt was sent to the canvas in the third round by a jab, and it only got worse from there. He courageously tried to rally in the fifth with his own salvo of punches, but while they were thrown with bad intentions they had very little sharpness and precision attached to them. 

Berchelt looked like a car with two flat tires trying to win the Daytona 500.

“He didn’t really bother me, the way he swung. I just got back to my game plan, and I capitalized," said Nakathila, who last year was stifled by the defensive acumen of Shakur Stevenon.''

 

Mikey Williams for Top Rank

 

In the sixth, Nakathila regained control of the bout. As Berchelt sat on his stool with a dazed look on his face, blood coming from his nose, after a round where he was struck with numerous right hands -- one which launched his gumshield from his mouth -- referee Russell Mora made the prudent decision to wave things off.

Jeremiah Nakathila Knocks out & Upsets Miguel Berchelt | FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS

Not sure if it was a call made solely at his discretion, but it was the right one.

“I’m going to get up. I’m going to rise from this," promised Berchelt. "The great champions are not the ones who fall. The great champions are those who rise, and I will go home, spend time with my family, visit with them, get some rest, and I am going to come back stronger than ever.”

To put this as bluntly as possible: if his loved ones actually care about him they would plead with him to retire, and never lace'em up again. There's a belief that once a fighter loses his legs, the rest will soon follow.

What we saw this past weekend was a fighter whose legs have absolutely left him. 

That was evident as every jab from Nakathila put him back on his heels, hard right hands from stunned him time and time again. Berchelt looked like a deer in the headlights as the Namibian hurled leather in his direction. It was so bad that he wobbled as he came forward and attempted to throw his own punches, which were oftentimes nothing more than wide, looping shots thrown from his heels.

In short, from the very first bell Berchelt was a man in quicksand wrapped ankle weights. 

Both Andre Ward and Tim Bradley who were on the call for ESPN, weren't so much analyzing the fight, but wincing throughout it.  They, more than anybody, understood what was taking place. Berchelt was just a shell of himself. His spirit was willing, but his body wasn't. 

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

 

The guy we saw prior to Valdez, came out forever altered. For years he was able to be a weight bully and squeeze his big frame into the 130 pound limit. In the age of weigh-ins that take place well over 24 hours before boxers even step into the ring, this is nothing unusual. Manipulating this flawed system is now part of the strategy that goes into fights. 

Combined that with the beating at the hands of Valdez, who floored him three times in that contest, we saw a fighter who's listed age is 30, but in reality is about 70 in boxing years. 

Yes, it can happen just like that. 

“Luckily, {he couldn’t continue}. I was going to knock him out or put him to sleep in a bad way. Luckily, he saw it coming and decided he couldn’t come back,'' said Nakathila. 

It says here he shouldn't come back, period.

 

TSZYU-LANDER

Meanwhile on Showtime, junior middleweight contender, Tim Tszyu (21-0/15 KOs) remained undefeated by out-pointing the game Terrell Gausha over 12 rounds at the Armory in Minneapolis, MN. The scores were a bit closer (114-113, 115-112 and 116-111) than how most saw it.

But in winning clearly, the 27 year old from Australia, showed he still needs a bit more spit-and-polish to his game.

Like his father, Kostya, he is a bit upright and stiff in the torso, which leaves his susceptible to overhand rights. Which was shown in the opening round as Gausha sent him to the canvas with punch that gave everyone Vince Phillips flashbacks.

Tim Tszyu vs Terrell Gausha HIGHLIGHTS: March 26, 2022 | PBC on SHOWTIME

To his credit, Tszyu dusted himself off, and then proceeded to methodically wear down Gausha with a steady two-fisted attack, hurting his foe several times. Like his Hall-of-Fame father, Tsyzu is a strong puncher from both sides, and has a varied offensive arsenal. 

Esther Lin, Showtime Sports

There's a lot to like about him, but there's also some rough edges. But as fighters of a higher caliber -- with superior power --  continue to shoot their best right hands over the top against him, will this flaw be corrected before he gets his eventual shot at the junior middleweight title?

 

FINAL FLURRIES

I don't know about you, but I think Michel Rivera looks more like a young Julian Jackson than Muhammad Ali... Elvis Rodriguez looked solid in stopping Juan Jose Velasco in seven rounds...Josh Warrington became a two-time featherweight champion by halting Kiko Martinez in seven, but he paid a heavy price for it as he suffered a broken jaw. When that heals, all indications are that he will face Leigh Wood in a unification bout....Haven Brady is another good looking prospect under the Top Rank banner...Miami made a good run in the NCAA tourney.  For them, an Elite 8 is like a national title...I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com....

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Author
A Hard Fall for Berchelt
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for UCNlive.com.
  • Was a boxing reporter for ESPN.com from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.