Home Boxing News Edgar Berlanga defeats Jason Quigley at Madison Square Garden, but questions still...

Edgar Berlanga defeats Jason Quigley at Madison Square Garden, but questions still remain

Photo credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

Super middleweight contender Edgar ‘The Chosen One’ Berlanga 21-0 (16) may have won the fight, but Jason Quigley 20-3 (14) asked plenty of questions of the undefeated fighter in their bout at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday night.

Before the fight Ireland’s Quigley, 32, was seen as just another notch on the belt for Berlanga as he pushed his claim for a shot at undisputed 168-pound champion and Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 59-2-2 (39).

Despite being just one bout removed from his second-round knockout loss to then-WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade in November 2021, Quigley proved he wasn’t just showing up for a pay cheque.

Under the tutelage of coach Andy Lee, Quigley boxed beautifully off the counter and had Berlanga second-guessing himself frequently throughout the bout.

But in the end if was Berlanga’s power that made the difference. A legit knockdown in the third was followed by a dubious one in the fifth, but Quigley rebounded to control the action through the middle rounds, walking the favourite onto his shots.

The sixth belonged to Quigley and in the seventh the pair traded left hooks with the visitor’s blow visibly jarring Berlanga. Just before the bell to end the eighth Quigley slammed home a right hand that probably won him the round.

Quigley’s boxing IQ was making Berlanga gun-shy.

But as the fight wore on Berlanga came into his own. The ninth round was close with Quigley’s higher activity offset by Berlanga’s heavier shots. Berlanga’s power jab continued to be his best weapon in the 10th.

Berlanga continued to follow Quigley around the ring in the 11th, still struggling to find his range while the out of town fighter landed a pair of good right hands to the body. A crisper one-two from Quigley caught Berlanga’s attention with a minute to go. Berlanga retaliated with a left hook 30 seconds later before being warned for the second time by referee Harvey Dock for a low blow. Quigley replied with a right to the body followed by a right to the head.

The bout would take a dramatic turn in the final round. With the fight seemingly hanging in the balance, Quigley did a little showboating to open the stanza. But disco moves don’t win fights. Berlanga suddenly found an extra gear, moving forward with bad intentions and letting his hands go. Quigley was forced to trade.

After trapping Quigley in the neutral corner the fight shifted across the ring to the blue corner, where a right to the temple from Berlanga sent his opponent toppling forward to the canvas midway through the round. Quigley went into survival mode and was caught again by Berlanga, this time in the red corner, going down for the fourth time in the fight.

It was enough to seal the deal.

When the dust settled, judges Max DeLuca and Frank Lombardi both saw it 116-108, while judge Nicolas Esnault had it 118-106.

Brooklyn’s Berlanga, 26, who comes from Puerto Rican heritage, admitted his performance was subpar, while at the same time blaming Quigley for not standing in front of him taking his shots.

“Everyone that I face at this level is going to run and just try to go the distance,” said Berlanga, who is ranked WBO and IBF number four and WBA number six at 168-pounds.

“He knew I was coming to fight. Everybody who steps in the ring with me knows I’ve got exceptional punching power. They train to survive. They try to box, jab, move around and try to kill me off points. They know I’ve got the power.

“Every fighter that I face at his level, they try to run and move around. I’m grateful I got the victory. I was looking for the knockout, for the TKO but I’m just glad that I’m back.”

Berlanga’s promoter Eddie Hearn outlined the plans for his fighter going forward.

“We always like to push the boundaries and do something different,” the Matchroom Boxing boss said. “I do want Edgar to fight in Puerto Rico and I think if we didn’t land the [Jaime] Munguia fight or something like that, maybe that’s something we do next.

“There’s something a little bit different but I also want to keep the momentum of what we started tonight. I think Billy Joe Saunders isn’t going to be ready this side of the year for Edgar Berlanga but I think he will be a great fight. He’s a big name.

“John Ryder is a very tough fight. You saw him go 12 with Canelo Alvarez so I think there are loads of fights that could be made. You’ve got Caleb Plant. You’ve got obviously [David] Benavidez and you’ve got [David] Morrell. You’ve got [Jermall] Charlo, you’ve got loads of super middleweights.

“There’s the other side of the street if that’s what you want to call it, but we don’t care really.

“We’re doing our own thing and you know that the DAZN will be very keen on Munguia against Berlanga. Munguia does great numbers and so does Berlanga. It’s just a tremendous fight.”