Fight Reports

[Video] Berchelt’s Career in Peril After Upset KO to Nakathila

The ghosts of Oscar Valdez's left hook...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 26: Miguel Berchelt (L) and Jeremiah Nakathila (R) exchange punches during their lightweight fight at Resorts World Las Vegas on March 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

After being on the wrong side of 2021’s best knockout, Miguel Berchelt’s comeback bout against Jeremiah Nakathila was viewed as a litmus test for how much the 12-year Mexican veteran had left. Nakathila’s fists quickly dashed any hopes of returning to former glory as Berchelt was summarily battered and stopped in six rounds at the Resorts World Las Vegas.

While not having the fearsome punching reputation of Berchelt, Nakathila isn’t exactly a slouch in that area, having stopped 19 of 23 opponents. He fought aggressively and with confidence nothing Berchelt threw back could hurt him. Nakathila winged right hands with impunity, and his towering height and reach advantages kept Berchelt off-balance and unsure of when or even how to engage.

A mere left jab dropped Berchelt hard in the third. The proud Mexican slugger made a strong final stand in the fifth by attempting to drag Nakathila into a war. But outside of being knocked off balance a few times, Nakathila’s approach didn’t waver. As the round closed, it became apparent that only Nakathila’s shots were doing any significant damage.

Following an uncomfortable sixth round that saw Berchelt’s head snapped around by flush power shots, referee Russell Mora ended the carnage in the former champion’s corner.

“From the first round, my corner told me to take my time,” Nakathila reflected. “I know what I have. I knew it would be difficult for him to reach the 10th round. It wasn’t so easy, but I made it look easy.
 
“He didn’t really bother me, the way he swung. I just got back to my game plan, and I capitalized.
 
“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.”

Two brutal, consecutive knockout losses would appear to signify the end of Berchelt’s career. However, the former champ was not ready to concede after the bout.

“I’m going to get up,” he promised. “I’m going to rise from this. 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.”

***

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 26: Miguel Berchelt gets stopped during his lightweight fight with Jeremiah Nakathila at Resorts World Las Vegas on March 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Fortunes change quickly in boxing’s unforgiving world. Going into his fight was Oscar Valdez, Berchelt was the overwhelming favorite. He received the blessings of legend Julio Cesar Chavez and the president of Mexico, who personally called him to offer support. Today at 30 years old, it’s difficult to envision a pathway for Berchelt to become a contender let alone win another title.

Lightweight is a stacked weight class and there aren’t many freebies. Most are naturally bigger than Berchelt and within the Top Rank stable he’s probably not favored over Richard Commey nor Masayoshi Nakatani, both of whom are coming off losses to Vasyl Lomachenko. Even prospect Raymond Muratalla is too risky considering the kid has 11 KOs in his 12 wins.

If Berchelt continues on, what’s your career plan to get him one final run?

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