NEW YORK – Edgar Berlanga still hasn’t let a pro opponent out of the first round.
The hard-hitting Puerto Rican prospect from Brooklyn knocked out Cesar Nunez in the first round of their scheduled 10-round super middleweight match Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. The 22-year-old Berlanga scored two knockdowns and stopped Spain’s Nunez with 15 seconds to go in the opening round on the Terence Crawford-Egidjius Kavaliauskas undercard.
Referee Michael Ortega stopped their fight at 2:45 into the first round.
Berlanga has won each of his 13 professional fights by first-round knockout since he turned pro in April 2016. The 34-year-old Nunez (16-2-1, 8 KOs), of Pamplona, Spain, was stopped in a second straight bout.
“I wanted to keep my first-round knockout streak going because they killed my cousin,” Berlanga said, referring to the September murder of his cousin, Anthony Santana. “I wanted to knock out [Nunez] in the first round for him. In the next fight, I wanna go more rounds.”
Berlanga landed a left hook to the side of Nunez’s head that sent Nunez to the canvas just 14 seconds into their fight. Nunez went down again with 1:23 to go in the first round, but Ortega ruled that it was the result of Berlanga hitting him on the back of his head.
Berlanga continued pressuring the light-punching Nunez, until he dropped him again with a left hook to the body that accounted for the second official knockdown. Ortega waved an end to the bout as soon as Nunez went down from that shot.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.