LAS VEGAS -- Miguel Berchelt proudly stood on the scale, arms flexed and flashing a chiseled physique befitting a fighter widely recognized as the best junior lightweight in the world.
The question is how long he can retain that status, regardless of what happens this weekend.
“I’m not sure how much longer I will be at this weight,” Berchelt told BoxingScene.com, though disclosing that he doesn’t have plans to move up any time soon. “My body will let me know when it’s time to move up.
“It has cost me in past training camps to lose those last few pounds. But it’s just something all of the great champions have to go through.”
Cancun’s Berchelt (38-1, 34KOs) proudly went through it for this weekend’s showdown with former featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez (28-0, 22KOs), defending his WBC junior lightweight title for the seventh time. The long-reigning champ has never had an issue making weight more than four years into his title reign, though looked visibly cautious making his way to the scale on Friday.
Still, a win puts him two title defenses away from matching countryman Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., who made nine defenses of this very title before moving up to lightweight and junior welterweight after that. Chavez remains on the very short list of the greatest fighters ever to come out of Mexico, claiming titles in three different weight divisions.
Berchelt’s reign has lasted one full year longer, with a win on Saturday extending his reign for as long as he’d like—or at least through his next fight.
Much bigger paydays just five healthier pounds north are within reach, though no fight other than the one with Valdez is presently on his mind.
“I’m not thinking about other fights or making history right now,” insists Berchelt. “All of my focus is on Oscar Valdez. As for the weight, like I said it’s something that Julio Cesar Chavez and all great champions go through.
“Right now, all I’m focused on is beating Oscar Valdez and defending my championship.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox