BACK TO K-9 KIM’S CORNER

By Steve Kim Updated on February 26, 2024

No Wepa

Picture for No Wepa

In the immediate aftermath of Edgar Berlanga's sixth round stoppage over the hand-picked Padraig McCrory, the DAZN announcers -- lead by my old friend, Sergio Mora -- and Eddie Hearn went into overdrive on the hard sell to foist Berlanga as an opponent for Saul Alvarez.

No.

Not now at least. At this moment, it only serves DAZN and Matchroom to make Alvarez-Berlanga, but nobody else. 

Picture for No WepaMatchroom Boxing

Sorry, that's a dud. And yeah, most of us rational fans want 'Canelo' to face David Benavidez, but once again it seems like Alvarez might be on the risk management stage of his career, and the business of boxing seems to be getting in the way of the sport. Never mind what the public wants, they don't seem to matter. 

But the reality is that Berlanga may not even be a top 10 super middleweight (for the record, Ring Magazine has him at number nine), and while he finally scored a stoppage again, McCrory was chosen for a reason. During his stint at Matchroom he has defeated the shopworn Jason Quigley, and now McCrory. Are there any more Irishmen for him to face? 

Picture for No WepaMatchroom Boxing

If the current options for Canelo are Jaime Munguia or Berlanga, it's a no-brainer -- Munguia.

Neither are elite, but hear me out, Munguia is the guy who has won a major world title, and has generally been in better fights. He has faced superior opposition with the likes of Sergey Derevyanchenko and John Ryder on his ledger. Munguia has also shown to be a solid attraction. Meanwhile, Berlanga fought in what looked like a hotel ballroom at the Caribe Royale Orlando. 

So yeah, this isn't exactly Felix Trinidad or Miguel Cotto playing to a packed house at the Madison Square Garden. 

Picture for No WepaGolden Boy Promotions

In a perfect world, Berlanga and Munguia would be clashing in the summer for the right to be in position to face King Alvarez. But the boxing business -- and the world -- is far from perfect. 

But this is just my opinion, nothing more. This is Canelo's world and all his fellow boxers are begging to be in it. 

 

BANZAI

It was an entertaining championship triple-header in Tokyo, Japan that was broadcast on ESPN+ on Saturday. Some thoughts on what transpired"

- Junto Nakatani is a fighter on the ascent, and is now beginning to creep up into those mythical 'pound-for-pound lists. He dismantled Alexander Santiago in six rounds to capture the WBC bantamweight title. His third world title, and his trainer, Rudy Hernandez, believes that the optimum weights for Nakatani will be at 122 and 126.

Picture for No WepaNaoki Fukuda/Top Rank

He's a tall, angular southpaw, who can box effectively from the outside, but can also chop you up from in-close with his variety of hooks and uppercuts. Just 26 years old, he is just now entering his physical prime, and Nakatani is gaining confidence as a fighter. 

Nakatani Pummels Santiago To Become 3-Division Champ | FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS 

Now, at what point do we start talking about a Naoya Inoue-Nakatani showdown in the 'Land of the Rising Sun'?

- Speaking of Inoue, it was his brother, Takuma, successfully defended his WBA bantamweight belt, by stopping former 115-pound titlist, Jerwin Ancajas with a series of shots to the gut in round nine. 

Takuma Inoue Drops & Stops Jerwin Ancajas | FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Yeah, I get it, he will never be the fighter his brother is. But Takuma has come a long ways since his 2019 defeat to Nordine Oubaali. This isn't Fredo to Sonny Corleone. Living up to the standard that 'the Monster' has set is nearly impossible, given that many consider him the best boxer in the world pound-for-pound, and some believe he will be considered an all-time great when it's all said and done. But Takuma has become a legitimate boxer in his own right. 

Picture for No WepaNaoki Fukuda/Top Rank

We've seen other brother combinations in the past, who have had varying degrees of dual success. You had, Michael and Leon Spinks, Donald and Bruce Curry, Orlando and Gaby Canizalez, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko and Juan Manuel and Rafael Marquez, among others, that come to mind. The Inoue's aren't out of place in this pantheon. 

 

FINAL FLURRIES

On that card in Japan, Kosei Tanaka captured the WBO 115-pound title by out-pointing the dogged Christian Bacasuega over 12 tough rounds....So here I thought Kurt Russell starred in 'Escape from New York', turns out it might be Ryan Garcia, who said he would do everything he could to bring his April 20 bout against Devin Haney to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This just an hour or so after Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN put out press releases on Friday announcing that this event would take place at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn....Antonio Vargas banged out Johnathan Rodriguez in seven rounds to become the mandatory contender for the aforementioned Inoue and his WBA bantamweight belt...I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com....

 

 

About Author
No Wepa
  • 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.