Edgar Berlanga has never needed more than three minutes to end any of his previous fights.
The irony in the 23-year-old super middleweight knockout artist going the distance for the first time in his career was that all he needed was another 10 seconds to avoid that fate.
Instead, Brooklyn’s Berlanga (17-0, 16KOs) saw his consecutive 1st round and overall knockout streaks both end at 16 following an eight-round unanimous decision win over Demond Nicholson in their ESPN-televised affair Saturday evening at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida. The distance fight wasn’t from a lack of trying. Berlanga scored four knockdowns, including one in the closing seconds of the fight which aired live on Nicholson made it to his feet and the bell, forcing the celebrated Nuyorican to hear the scorecards for the first time as a pro.
“It’s kind of f----- up that I had to go those rounds with all these people here,” Berlanga told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna of his failing to deliver a knockout ending for the first time since prior to turning pro in 2016. “They wanted me to score another 1st round knockout but I enjoyed getting that experience.”
Nicholson (23-4-1, 20KOs) was down in rounds two, three, five and eight. The last of the lot nearly had the Laurel, Maryland native done for the night, hitting the deck hard with less than 0:15 to go into the fight. Berlanga landed a corker of a right hand to produce what he thought was the fight-ending sequence, only for Nicholson to make it to his feet and the final bell. A few more seconds on the clock likely would have resulted in Berlanga continuing his knockout streak, although the sellout crowd of 3,262 seemed entertain by the rare eight rounds of action he was able to provide.
“It was an amazing shot,” Berlanga said of the final right hand he threw on the night. “I wanted to get him out… but it was such an amazing experience in front of my Puerto Rican people.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox