By: Sean Crose
So yeah, super middleweight Edgar Berlanga successfully bested Romer Angulo at the Theater in Madison Square Garden on Saturday. That he did so while fighting in what used to be called a Scientific Style (the goal being winning through tactical skills like hitting and moving rather than brawling) should be of no great harm to his reputation. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to thrill in order to create a legacy for yourself. Floyd Mayweather certainly proved that, as did Pernell Whitaker and Willie Pep before him – Pep is even said to have won entire round without having thrown a single punch.
So no, Berlanga won’t harm himself too badly by no longer being the fighter who scores first round knockouts repeatedly – or even many knockouts at all. He’ll certainly harm himself by not looking impressive in his matches, however. Saturday’s bout was not particularly impressive for the now 20-0 New Yorker. Mayweather, Whitaker and Pep may have not have been known as thunderous punchers, but they were stylists. And there’s more to being a stylist than simply maintaining range and jabbing. It works, no doubt, but there’s no entertainment value involved, which can be brutal for a fighter’s popularity.
Still, boxing is ultimately about winning rather than being popular. What it’s most certainly not about being, though is biting people. Yes, Mike Tyson made the “ring bite” famous after he took off a part Evander Holyfield’s ear nearly 25 years ago. He also did incredible harm to the sport of boxing in the process. Being a boxer is unquestionably a bad ass endeavor. Chomping on an ear, though is simply gross. And yup, it looks as if Berlanga tried chomping on Angulo last night with his teeth. Granted, he wasn’t going for Angulo’s ear – instead, he went for the guy’s neck. Gross. Unnecessary and gross.
To make things even more off-putting, Berlanga apparently thought the whole thing is funny. “He was throwing elbows,” he said of Angulo after the fight. “I was about to do a Mike Tyson on him. He kept throwing his elbows and I didn’t want to get cut, I was ready to bite him like Mike Tyson.” Perhaps the guy was just joking. Or perhaps he was pleased that he tried biting an opponent in the ring. Either way, the man is going to want to take things seriously if he wants his career to move along. If you decide to go from first round knockouts to biting your opponents, your fan appear is going to start dropping precipitously.
Fortunately, Berlanga seems to have grasped the seriousness of his actions, for on Sunday he tweeted the following: “I reacted poorly and take full responsibility. Moving forward, I am going to be more mindful and encouraging in my behavior. Once again, I do apologize.”