Oscar Valdez, WBC super featherweight champion; knock out Miguel Berchelet

Juan Manuel Vazquez

La Jornada newspaper
Sunday, February 21, 2021, p. a27

The dramatic cycles of boxing are incessant. Another champion who loses the crown and is limp on the canvas. A new monarch who celebrates with a scepter that he snatched with the climax of this office, the knockout. Miguel Berchelt lost the WBC super featherweight belt. The new owner is Óscar Valdez.

The anticipation for this fight grew as the fight got closer. Hours before the show in Las Vegas, Berchelt received a video call from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who wished him to win by knockout.

But it was Berchelt who was knocked unconscious on the mat by a powerful left-foot strike in the 10th inning. It took him a while to come back to reality. He managed to sit on the floor while the medical services attended him. His eyes revealed that his mind was still wandering where, although his body was already responding in the ring of the MGM Grand hotel. Óscar, the new champion, approached his dejected rival and said something to him. Only those who were bowed next to the defeated man listened. Then he kissed the loser’s gloved fist in homage.

Valdez was a prodigy of speed, of loose legs and waist that as soon as they tried to lead him to the ropes, he managed to make graceful turns that put him to safety. Berchelt, by contrast, looked stiff. He was not the monarch who had shown himself in the six previous defenses. Did the ghost of the Covid that Berchelt suffered in October haunt him tonight?

But Berchelt’s true rival and torment was a lightning and powerful left-hander that he couldn’t or couldn’t contain. The fourth round was the crucial moment where he began to lose the fight. Once it hit him at temple level, he stumbled backward. Again, a few seconds later, he was reconnected with that sinister unpredictable and now he did leave it badly. The ropes prevented his fall. The referee warned that if he did not visit the canvas it was thanks to the stringing and that is why he gave him the protection account.

The tenth round was climatic. Berchelt threw blows and advanced, but was already wandering in some unknown place. Valdez’s left-hander landed on the monarch again and it was devastating. The champion fell as if it were a puppet whose strings are cut. When he came to, it was all over. He was no longer the world champion.